Stage 1 of the Dakar Rally has ended on a positive note, both for Indian riders as well as their respective teams. TVS Sherco rider and a debutant at the Dakar, Aravind KP finished 63rd with a jump of 14 grid positions; while CS Santosh, a third-time entrant at the Dakar and currently racing for Hero MotoCorp Speedbrain, finished 47th, having dropped 5 places in the overall position as compared to the starting grid.
Meanwhile, TVS Sherco rider, Joan Pedrero, topped the charts in stage 1 because of a 10 place penalty handed over to the Frenchman Xavier De Soutrait after his over-speeding footage was handed over to the stewards. While American rider Ricky Brabec finished second aboard the Factory Honda CRF 450 Rally.
The grueling 454km opening stage ran between Asuncion to Resistencia, Paraguay and included a slurry of vehicles such as motorcycles, quad bikes, cars, utility vehicles and trucks. This is the first time ever that the over 4,000km rally has opened in Paraguay and is expected to traverse through Bolivia and culminate in Argentina. The gruesome rally will see the chequered flag in Buenos Aires on January 14 after putting the riders through varied temperature changes, multiple altitudes, harsh climate changes and difficult terrains.
Speaking about the 2017 edition, Marc Coma, Dakar Sporting Director summed up the 2017 Dakar Rally in a nutshell as follows: “The route of the 2017 Dakar preserves rally-raid traditions, with a physical challenge that will push the competitors into the world of extreme endurance: 7 selective sections will be over 400 kilometres with one of more than 500 kilometres. The rally will be spent 6 days at more than 3,000 metres above sea level. The balance of difficulties can be illustrated by a double upward trend: the level of difficulty will increase just until the rest day, then a second increase in power will be necessary, to reach one’s ideal level for the “Super Belén”. Nothing will be decided until the very last special stage at Río Cuarto”.