The toughest rally raid in the world kicked off on Saturday in Peru as 337 participants headed off from the starting line in Lima. The three IVECO Powerstars had a route of almost 9,000 kilometres ahead of them. All the crews drove straight to the beginning of the stage, close to the city of Pisco, where the first 31 kilometres of timed special took place for the 40th edition of this historical competition.
Ton van Genugten, from team PETRONAS de Rooy IVECO, achieved the best result of the three IVECO Powerstars in the first special. He crossed the finish line just over a minute behind the leaders, in fourth place behind Ales Loprais, Martin van den Brink and Eduard Nikolaev.
The Dutch pilot was very pleased with the opening stage of the Dakar 2018.
“This was about what I had in mind. It went extremely well. It was a fast track through the dunes, you could drive fast, but it was certainly not easy.”
Teammate Artur Ardavichus finished the stage five minutes behind the leader. The driver from Kazakhstan will start the second stage from the 16th place, following his position on yesterday’s special.
Argentinian Federico Villagra, also behind the wheel of an IVECO Powerstar, and one of the favourites to battle the Russian’s Kamaz head-to-head, had a bit more complicated race in the first 31 km special. A glitch with the navigation system cost the pilot 16m37s in the shortest day of competition.
Even though the first stage covered a short distance, it already showed the difficulties that the crews will face in the first week of action, when they will cross the world’s highest dunes in the desert of Peru. Navigation will be a key factor in this Dakar 2018 and the co-pilots’ skills will be put to the test all the way through.
Stage 1 / Overall – Dakar Rally 2018
1. Ales Loprais (Tatra) 25m15s
2. Martin van den Brink (Renault) + 22s
3. Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz) + 29s
4. Ton van Genugten (IVECO) + 1m11s
5. Anton Shibalov (Kamaz) + 1m18s
16. Artur Ardavichus (IVECO) + 4m55s
21. Federico Villagra (IVECO) + 16m37s
Follow all developments on www.iveco.com/TeamPetronasDeRooyIveco