Dakar SS1: All three Mini John Cooper Works Buggies in the top 10

Carlos Sainz © DR

– Second place for Carlos Sainz

– Peterhansel and Despres in seventh and tenth

The long wait finally came to an end today – the X-raid Mini JCW Team kicked off the 2019 Dakar with an 83-kilometre special stage around the bivouac in Pisco. Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz (both ESP) ended day one in second place in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy, behind Al-Attiyah in his Toyota.

Stéphane Peterhansel and David Castera (both FRA) were seventh fastest, with Cyril Despres and Jean-Paul Cottret (both FRA) tenth.

As reigning Dakar champions, Sainz and Cruz had the honour of opening the first stage, the start of which was delayed by a little over an hour. The reason for the delay was GPS issues in the motorcycle category. The Spanish duo ended the opening stage in second place. « We did not have any major issues today, » reported Sainz at the finish. « We knew what to expect. Furthermore, we didn’t want to have to open tomorrow’s stage, so that is why we took it a little easier today. »

Peterhansel and Castera had to overcome a few difficulties, but still managed to finish seventh and secure their place in the top ten. « After so many weeks without a rally, I always take a bit of time to find my rhythm at first, » said Peterhansel. « As such, we did not push hard today. Plus, we had a slow puncture. We decided not to change the tyre, but to nurse the car home steadily. »

The third MINI JCW Buggy crew of Despres and Cottret ended day one in tenth place. « I love this rally and always feel particularly good on the opening day, » said a pleased Despres. « We did not have to push hard today and I really enjoyed the stage. »

The start of tomorrow’s 342-kilometre special stage has a slightly different look to it: instead of the motorcycles, it will be the cars that open the route. This will make navigation significantly more difficult, as the co-drivers will not be able to follow the tracks left by the bikers.

Rally Dakar – Result SS1
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 1h 1m 41s
2. Carlos Sainz (ESP) / Lucas Cruz (ESP) MINI JCW Buggy – 1h 3m 40s
3. Kuba Przygonski (POL) / Tom Colsoul (BEL) MINI JCW Rally – 1h 3m 41s
4. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) / Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Toyota – 1h 3m 59s
5. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU) / Timo Gottschalk (GER) MINI JCW Rally – 1h 4m 09s
6. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) / Dirk von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 1h 4m 21s
7. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / David Castera (FRA) MINI JCW Buggy – 1h 4m 38s
8. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD) / Xavier Panseri (FRA) Toyota – 1h 5m 00s
9. Harry Hunt (GBR) / Wouter Rosegaar (FRA) Peugeot – 1h 5m 06s
10. Cyril Despres (FRA) / Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) MINI JCW Buggy – 1h 6m 06s…

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