Loeb laments "terrible" start to 2018 Dakar title bid

Loeb laments

Loeb laments "terrible" start to 2018 Dakar title bid

Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota) and Briton Sam Sunderland (KTM) topped the first stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally in the vehicle and motorcycle sections, respectively, on a day marked by caution when many drivers chose to wait for later legs to make a move.

PISCO, Peru (AP) - Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah of Toyota won the first round of the rugged Dakar Rally on Saturday.

Nine-time world rally champion Sebastian Loeb of France had a miserable opening to the Dakar Rally, however, finishing down in 29th place, losing 5 minutes and 37 seconds to Al-Attiyah. However, security threats in Mauritania saw the rally moved to South America in 2009, where it has been held ever since.

The race lasts 15 days and the 2018 edition will commence on Saturday.

Loeb said that his brakes had failed just three kilometers into the stage. With all the dunes, we must try not to get bogged down.

Loeb laments

'It was quite tricky, driving without brakes is exasperating.

Despres finished the 267km stage around the port city of Pisco in two hours 56 minutes 51 seconds, some 48 seconds ahead of his teammate and countryman Stephane Peterhansel.

In the motorcycle category, Sunderland began his title defense strongly, closely followed by Frenchman Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha) and Chilean Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna), who came third, 55 seconds behind the Brit.

It's probably no surprise that Brabec started a bit cautiously and concentrated on his navigation, thus finishing 11th, two minutes and 47 seconds behind stage victor and defending race champion Sam Sunderland, the Red Bull KTM factory rider completing the 31 kilometers in a speedy 20:55.

"I was not really confident in the dunes today", he said.


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