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Dakar Rally Stage 2 - Pisco to San Juan de Marcona

Sparks fly as Sebastien Loeb wins sensational second stage
Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Sebastien Loeb
Sebastien Loeb

After Monday’s quick taste of the dunes, things got serious on stage two of the 2019 Dakar Rally with a race route of 350 kilometers laid out for the competitors. The challenging route created drama all the way as former winners were caught out by the shifting sands and newcomers pounced to take advantage of any slip ups.

In an unusual twist it was the cars that led off the day with stage one winners Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) opening the road in their Toyota Hilux. Al-Attiyah used all of his sand racing experience to guide the pack through the dunes. After suffering a puncture, the Qatari was caught by X-raid MINI JCW Team members Carlos Sainz (ESP) and co-driver Lucas Cruz (ESP). The Toyota and Mini rivals can both reflect on a steady day’s work.

After caution the day before, Sebastien Loeb unleashed his talent to let the lion on his Peugeot 3008 roar this Tuesday on the long special finishing in San Juan de Marcona.

The man from Alsace did not make the slightest mistake and held out against the amazing comeback by Nani Roma, who was timed at just 8 seconds behind Loeb on the finishing line. In 4th place, Giniel de Villiers took command of the general standings in which Stephane Peterhansel plummeted downwards after losing almost 20 minutes stuck in a dune.

Such difficulties were brilliantly negotiated by Chaleco Lopez for only his second stage in an SxS, allowing him to add to the excellent roll of honor (3rd overall in 2013 and 2014) which he started on a bike, 5 years after his last appearance on the Dakar. Matthias Walkner can also already boast an improved victory count.

The Austrian was faithful to his role as title holder and beat Ricky Brabec at the death by just 22 seconds at the end of a superb duel between the two men throughout the stage.

In 3rd, Joan Barreda still leads the general standings. In the quad race, the same classification is heavily dominated by Nicolas Cavigliasso thanks to the Argentinean rider’s second successive stage win. In the truck race, there were also two stage wins in a row, as Eduard Nikolaev triumphed again behind the wheel of his Kamaz.

“In the dunes it’s tough to keep on rhythm for the whole day, but today we managed it well and things worked out for us.” – Sebastien Loeb

There was great evidence of esprit de corps out on today’s stage as 13-time winner Stephane Peterhansel got stuck in the dunes at the 109km point of the special stage. Peterhansel’s fellow MINI John Cooper Works Buggy driver Cyril Despres (FRA) pulled over and gave his team-mate a tow – sacrificing his own chance of a stage win. The spirit of the Dakar is alive and well in Peru!

“Without Cyril’s help we would still be there now and not here at the finish line.” – Stephane Peterhansel

Fourth place on the second stage was enough to elevate the Toyota Hilux crew of Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) and co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz (DEU) to top spot in the car race in the early rankings.

There was a pulsating battle in the bike race from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona. Honda rider Ricky Brabec (USA) led the stage by a whisker from defending champion Matthias Walkner (AUT) throughout the day, but in the final kilometers the KTM rider got his nose in front. Walkner’s final margin of victory on the 342-kilometre stage over the dunes was 22 seconds from Brabec.

“I don’t know if I made the right decision to push too much, but in the end it’s always good to have a stage win.” – Matthias Walkner

Walkner’s Red Bull KTM Factory team-mates Toby Price (AUS) and Sam Sunderland (GBR) also enjoyed productive days in the sand, finishing the stage fourth and sixth respectively. Walkner is now the best placed of this trio of former champions in the overall standings. The Austrian biker is second in the general classification, 91 seconds behind current race leader Joan Barreda (ESP).

“We had the cars in front of us today and they seemed to be taking different lines than we would normally do.” – Toby Price

Reigning champion of the Dakar truck class Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) is clearly in no mood to give up his title this year. The Russian trucker has got his race off to the perfect start with back-to-back stage wins. The Team Kamaz Master driver is in pole position to dictate the coming stages and has three team-mates backing him up should he need any assistance along the way.

Another Red Bull Desert Wings athlete enjoying a great start to this Dakar is Chaleco Lopez (CHI) and his co-pilot Alvaro Leon (CHI) in the side-by-side/UTV class. Lopez is back at the Dakar after a four year absence, before which he achieved two podium finishes in the bike race. The Chilean has clearly lost none of his speed or his competitive edge as he won the second stage today in his new category.

“I’m feeling very good to get this first long stage of the 2019 Dakar done, and to win the stage is a nice bonus.” – Chaleco Lopez

Lopez’s fellow Chilean and UTV debutant Ignacio Casale was 10 minutes further back and holds seventh place in the overall classifications. Lopez himself is second, a minute behind Reinaldo Varela (BRA) who is the defending champion of the Dakar’s UTV class.

There’s another bumper day of racing due tomorrow at the 2019 Dakar Rally. In addition to a 467-kilometre liaison route there will be 331 kilometers raced against the clock on Wednesday. As the Dakar convoy moves from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa they’ll discover the dunes of Acari, a region as yet unvisited by the rally.

Top-10 Bikes

11 Matthias WalknerRed Bull Ktm Factory Team03H 23' 57''+0.000S
215 Ricky BrabecMonster Energy Honda Team 201903H 24' 19''+ 00H 00' 22''
35 Joan Barreda BortMonster Energy Honda Team 201903H 25' 38''+ 00H 01' 41''
43 Toby PriceRed Bull Ktm Factory Team03H 27' 03''+ 00H 03' 06''
56 Pablo QuintanillaRockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing03H 27' 21''+ 00H 03' 24''
614 Sam SunderlandRed Bull Ktm Factory Team03H 30' 00''+ 00H 06' 03''
74 Adrien Van BeverenYamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team03H 33' 02''+ 00H 09' 05''
847 Kevin BenavidesMonster Energy Honda Team 201903H 33' 56''+ 00H 09' 59''
929 Andrew ShortRockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing03H 36' 22''+ 00H 12' 25''
1010 Jose Ignacio Cornejo FlorimoMonster Energy Honda Team 201903H 37' 40''+ 00H 13' 43''

Top-10 Cars

1306 Sebastien Loeb/ Daniel ElenaPh-Sport03H 26' 53''+0.000S
2307 Nani Roma/ Alex Haro BravoX-Raid Team03H 27' 01''+ 00H 00' 08''
3309 Bernhard Ten Brinke/ Xavier PanseriToyota Gazoo Racing Sa03H 28' 13''+ 00H 01' 20''
4302 Giniel De Villiers/ Dirk Von ZitzewitzToyota Gazoo Racing Sa03H 28' 24''+ 00H 01' 31''
5314 Yazeed Al Rajhi/ Timo GottschalkX-Raid Team03H 29' 26''+ 00H 02' 33''
6308 Cyril Despres/ Jean Paul CottretX-Raid Mini Jcw Team03H 30' 07''+ 00H 03' 14''
7312 Harry Hunt/ Wouter RosegaarPh-Sport03H 30' 17''+ 00H 03' 24''
8300 Carlos Sainz/ Lucas CruzX-Raid Mini Jcw Team03H 31' 33''+ 00H 04' 40''
9322 Nicolas Fuchs/ Fernando Adrian MussanoFuchs Vistony Racing Team03H 31' 54''+ 00H 05' 01''
10311 Vladimir Vasilyev/ Konstantin ZhiltsovG-Energy Team03H 32' 29''+ 00H 05' 36''

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