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DAKAR STAGE 1

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January 2, 2017
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A short first stage for Dakar 2017 resulted in some controversy and a penalty. In the end, Sherco TVS rider Juan Pedrero emerged as the winner of the stage and the first leader in this year’s rally, with America Ricky Brabec in second, 12 seconds back. Earlier, the apparent winner had been Yamaha rider Xavier de Soultrait. After withdrawing in 2016,  grabbed the scratch special stage victory ahead of Pedrero and Brabec. However, the Frenchman exceeded the speed limit on the link stage and received a one-minute penalty, putting Pedrero at the top of the general standings. Michael Metge completed the day in fourth, but also received a penalty. Joan Barreda grabbed the 7th best time despite a problem in a stream crossing. In the quad race, Marcelo Medeiros was victorious with a lead of more than one minute, while local favourite Nelson Sanabria finished the stage in third place in front of his countrymen and women. In the car category, Nasser Al-Attiyah finished his first stage behind the wheel of a Toyota with a victory. He literally played with fire, however, as flames started to lick around his Hilux a short way from the finishing line. The leading Peugeot, driven by Carlos Sainz, took fourth place with Sébastien Loeb in sixth. In the truck race, Martin Kolomy let the power of his brand new Tatra Phoenix do the talking, to win the first stage just in front of Dutchman Ton Van Genugten.

Ricky Brabec: “The liaison section was pretty tough. It was 354 kilometres and the special was only 39 km! I think that today was a bit of a shake-down for the riders, the machines and the crew. The racing hasn’t really begun yet. Tomorrow I think will be different. The humidity and the heat here are insane. You walk outside for thirty seconds and you think that you are melting. It’s taking its toll on the body and, for sure, on the machine too, as you are really pushing it. The heat is a really big factor. It will all come down to saving yourself and saving the machine, to get through the extreme heat and high elevation.”

Xavier de Soultrait was excited when he thought he had won: “Winning a stage in the Dakar is incredible and it’s already a step upwards. However, it’s not my ultimate goal: I want to win the Dakar. Why not this year? I’m putting the pieces of the puzzle in place little by little and things are starting to take shape!”

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DAKAR 2017 MOTORCYCLE STANDINGS

1 PEDRERO GARCIA (ESP)SHERCO TVS
2 BRABEC (USA) HONDA 00:00:12
3 GONCALVES (PRT) HONDA 00:00:26
4 SUNDERLAND (GBR) KTM 00:00:27
5 BARREDA BORT (ESP) HONDA 00:00:30
6 WALKNER (AUT) KTM 00:00:40
7 METGE (FRA) HONDA 00:00:46
8 FARRES GUELL (ESP) KTM 00:00:46
9 CERVANTES MONTERO (ESP) KTM 00:00:54
10 DE SOULTRAIT (FRA) YAMAHA 00:00:58

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