DAKAR: Al-Attiyah dominates first stage

2017-01-02 18:12:09

Two-time Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah dominated the first stage of the event on Monday.

Al-Attiyah, who now drives for Toyota after leaving Mini, finished in 25m41s, 24 seconds ahead of Spanish former WRC driver Xavier Pons (Ford) and 29 seconds ahead of Spain's Nani Roma (Toyota). However, Al-Attiyah required a tow after mechanical problems at the end of the stage. Peugeot was a bit further behind, with Carlos Sainz leading the pack in fourth, followed by Sébastien Loeb in sixth, Cyril Despres in eighth and Stephane Peterhansel in 12th.

"About 10 kilometers from the finish, we felt smoke, on the side of the seat of [co-driver Mathieu Baumel], with a little fire," Al-Attiyah said, according to L'Equipe. "We slowed down to finish the stage and on arrival we were able to turn it off. Now [Gazoo South Africa teammate Giniel de Villiers] towed us out, and we'll see what we're going to do, I do not know at all what happened. I especially hope that the engine has nothing, because I saw that we lost oil. So I may have had the best time, but I do not care! What worries me is the problem with the car."

Only 24 miles of the 282-mile stretch between Paraguay's capital Asuncion to Argentinian city Resistencia was timed, all in Paraguay. 

Class winners include France's Xavier de Soultrait (bikes), Brazil's Marcelo Medeiros (quads), Tim Coronel of the Netherlands (UTVs) and Martin Kolomy from the Czech Republic (trucks). 

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