Day 2 of the 2018 Dakar Rally saw competitors fighting it out over 90 per cent of the 267km desert challenge in Pisco, Peru. With the unrelenting expanse of the virgin desert demanding exceptional navigation skills for the opening drivers, the tracks seem to help the ones starting from behind.
As the opening car, Nasser Al-Attiyah suffered a huge loss after his navigator fell ill just 15kms into the stage which made it even more difficult for him. The Qatari driver lost almost half an hour in the stage, dropping down to an overall fifth position while chasing his third Dakar title.
Team Peugeot who were out of the top-ten yesterday, made excellent use of the leader’s tracks and even without the additional navigating gear, they were the fastest. Cyril Despres stormed to the top of the leader-board while teammate Stephen Peterhansel finished less than a minute behind the leader. With Peterhansel just 12 seconds behind Despres overall, it looks like team Peugeot looks to fight for the lead amongst themselves.
Rallying maverick and star, Sebastien Loeb, who started 26th on Day 2, claimed the third fastest timings for the stage, leapfrogging 22 positions in the process. He is now positioned just 25 seconds behind Gazoo Toyota’s De Villers. At the end of the day, Loeb seemed to be very confident about gaining time over his competitors as well as teammates as he looks forward to use the leader tracks to enhance his pace.
The Mini X-Raid team have been performing consistently in both the stages, staying in the top-ten and might start pushing as the going gets tougher in the more demanding all-wheel drive stages.