Australian Toby Price won the second
stage of the Rally Dakar 2017 in the motorcycle category with a lead of more
than 3 minutes over his team-mate Matthias Walkner and almost four minutes over
Paulo Goncalves. Xavier de Soultrait also put in a solid performance with the
day’s fourth best time.
In the car race, Sébastien
Loeb let rip with his Peugeot over a route on which the Frenchman was able to
focus on speed rather than navigation, pushing Nasser-Al Attiyah, who opened
the road on January 3, 2017, to more than a minute behind him as well as taking
the lead in the general standings from the Qatari. In third and fourth, Carlos
Sainz and Giniel de Villiers lie in wait, but Stéphane Peterhansel again lost
In the quad race, Pablo Copetti fought an
impressive duel with Nelson Sanabria and triumphed over the Paraguayan at the
end of the special. The Argentinean is the new category leader in his native
In the truck category, Martin
Van Den Brink put in the best performance with his first stage victory on the
Dakar, which also sees him take command of the general standings in front of
the day’s runner up, Russian Dmitry Sotnikov driving for Kamaz.
Toby Price lived up to his
race number 1 by dominating the battle on this second stage. The Australian,
the first non-European to have won the Dakar, went on all out attack to leave
his team-mate Matthias Walkner and the leading Honda ridden by Paulo Goncalves
trailing in his wake. His main rivals of 2016, Pablo Quintanilla and Stefan
Svitko are even further back, whilst Joan Barreda has just managed to creep
into the top 10.
Meanwhile, thanks to the
performance of Sébastien Loeb, Peugeot increases its total of stage victories
on the Dakar to 59, the same amount as Volkswagen. Stage 3 on January 4, has
started in San Miguel de Tucumán and completes in San Salvador de Jujuy, a
total distance of 780 km.
Motosports Team Rally riders: Both
Hero Motosports Team Rally riders, Joaquim Rodrigues of Portugal and C.S.
Santosh of India, kept up the good work from stage one in the tricky second
stage of the 2017 Dakar.
The riders started from the Resistencia
bivouac at the crack of dawn with 803 km on the agenda, out of which 275 km
comprised of the special timed section. It was always going to be a tough day
for the men at the handlebar with temperatures touching the high 40s as the day
progressed. Rodrigues, who entered the second special in 16th place after his
stupendous opening run, encountered problems when his GPS stopped working,
forcing him to slow down to avoid making mistakes. Despite, being forced to cut
back on pace, Rodrigues rode well enough to drop just six places as he
completed the timed section in 2 hour 51 minutes and 53 seconds that put him in
22nd place in the provisional general classifications. “This stage was more
difficult than yesterday because there were a lot of unmarked water puddles in
the stage. I slid out in one of these and crashed my bike. My GPS got drowned
in water and stopped working. Without the GPS I was running the risk of a
crash. So, I slowed down. But I managed to get to the end relying on my road
book,” said Rodrigues after reaching the bivouac in Tucuman.
For Santosh, it was a marked
improvement in performance. Starting the special stage in 47th place, he
decided to play safe in the first part of the timed section because heavy rains
in the days preceding the rally created large pools of water that were not
marked on the roadbook. But in the latter half of his run, Santosh found his
rhythm as was able to catch a few riders. He completed the 275-km special in 3
hour 7 minutes 41 seconds, which helped him to slot into 37th place in the
provisional general classification—a gain of impressive 10 place over his
overnight position of 47.
“It was the first real stage of the Dakar and
it was really fast. In the first half, there were a lot of cautions and there
were lots of water puddles that were not on the roadbook. So, I took it easy in
that bit and in the latter half of the stage I started getting a good feeling
and was able to catch some guys. But it was really dusty. It was a kind of
stage where you could pay a big price for a small mistake and ruin your rally,”
The third stage that will be run from San
Miguel De Tucuman to San Salvador Jujuy will see dramatic changes in
temperature and altitude. On the 780-km stage, out which 416 km will be marked
by competitive distance, the riders will climb rapidly in the Andes, reaching
the maximum height of this Dakar at 5,000 metres during a crossing of a high pass,
before finishing the special at 3,000 metres.
Factory Rally team: Riders of the Sherco TVS Factory Rally team Juan Pedrero Garcia
came in 9th after the second stage, while KP Aravind came in 125th
and Adrien Metge 124th. Juan stood 9th in Stage 2 of the rally and
finished only 8'09" behind the
stage winner. He is still very well placed in the top 10. Our other two riders
Aravind KP and Adrien Metge stood at 125th and 124th positions respectively.
The race for 3rd stage has begun and is scheduled between San Miguel de Tucuman
and San Salvador de Jujuy (780 km including a 364 km special).