The world’s toughest race and the first international racing event in 2018 has completed its first stage from Lima to Pisco in the Peruvian desert. Nasser Al-Attiyah, a world rallying legend and two-time Dakar champion, has taken the lead in the 15 day, 7,000 km rally, driving the Gazoo Racing Toyota.
Teammate Bernhard Ten Brinke is just 25 seconds behind in the 32km long special stage on Day 1 while privateer Borgward Rally Team is nine seconds further behind, driven by Nicholas Fuchs. Mini’s X-Raid teams aren’t too far behind with Bryan Menzies and Nani Roma not too far behind.
Pre-Dakar favourites, Peugeot and especially Sebastien Loeb had a bad field day with the Loeb struggling with brake failure within 3km from the start. Loeb has lost five minutes and stands 26th behind Peugeot’s lead drive Stephane Peterhansel.
But that wasn’t the only controversy for the day. Team Peugeot were visibly miffed with the race directions’ new rules that banned navigators of expert teams from using smartphones or GPS watches that aided them to stay on course in the wilderness. Competitors like Toyota and Mini welcomed the decision saying that this would make the competition a level-playing field.
Stay tuned to CarWale for regular updates of the Dakar rally 2018.