This year’s Dakar Rally gets off to a rocky start with the first stage being cancelled due to bad weather conditions. With the thunderstorms taking place it was not possible for the support helicopters to oversee the drivers during the stage; a service that is highly important during such a dangerous competition.
This comes after yesterday’s catastrophic incident in which Chinese driver Guo Meiling lost control of his Mini 6,6 km into the stage leaving 10 spectators seriously injured.
With the prologue being 11 km long it gave some drivers a small taste of what the full competition would have in store. Bernhard ten Brinke piloted his Toyota Hilux to first place with a time of 6 min 08 seconds while WRC champion Sebastien Loeb managed to claim a 10th place spot with his Peugeot 2008 DKR. He noted the importance of clearing the prologue stage without any incidents more than anything else.
As a result of these conditions, day two will see a shorter and re-routed rally’s schedule with the bikes and quads, which were set to do 450 km timed over the run from Villa Carlos Paz to Termas Rio Hondo, competing over 354 km. Cars and trucks will now travel 387 km instead of the planned 510 km.