After a short appetiser on
Saturday, the competitors faced the full might of the dunes of Ica near Pisco
on Sunday January 7, 2018. The second stage in Peru was 90% off the track. The
267 km challenge required some serious navigational skills, especially among
the car drivers, who for once had to open the road. In the end, the Peugeot
drivers capitalised on the tracks of the top 10 to burst back onto the scene
after a disappointing start.
Cyril Despres turned the race
on its head in Pisco. He drove his Peugeot superbly and navigated the dunes
flawlessly to secure his second Dakar stage win in the car category. The
victory also catapulted him to the overall lead with a 27-second margin over Stéphane
Peterhansel, who finished second on the day and rocketed up the general
classification as well. Sébastien Loeb made it a 1-2-3 for the Lions.
The motorcycle classification
also saw a change of leader, with an amazing Joan Barreda turning on the
afterburners in the second half of the stage to defeat his rivals. Adrien Van
Beveren, meanwhile, managed to hold his deficit to about three minutes.
In the quad category, Ignacio
Casale took another step towards victory in Córdoba with his second stage win
in as many days. However, 2017 winner Sergey Karyakin spent the entire stage
hot on his heels and remains well within striking distance after losing just 43
Defending champion Eduard
Nikolaev opened a serious gap in the truck category, leaving his rivals in the
dust after just two stages.
Performance of the day
For all his experience in the
world of motocross and enduro, Jonathan Barragán is still a rookie at the
Dakar. The biker from Madrid is making his debut on a GasGas in the Spanish
maker's return to the greatest rally in the world. Barragán, eleventh in Pisco
and just three seconds off the pace of 2016 champion Toby Price, is already
mixing it with the big boys. He is now the top-placed rookie in the general
A crushing blow
The nightmare scenario came
true for Nasser Al-Attiyah in Pisco. The Toyota driver, who had to open the
road in a navigation heavy special after Stage 1 victory, steadily lost time to
the Peugeot drivers and finished the stage about a quarter of an hour back,
although it must be said that his co-driver Matthieu Baumel fell ill after just
Stat of the day
Joan Barreda is still chasing
an overall Dakar win, but in Stage 2 he
proved again that he is one of the fastest bikers the rally has ever seen. The
Spaniard claimed his 20th stage in Pisco. The only ones with more stage wins
are all multiple-time Dakar winners: Despres and Peterhansel (33), Arcarons
(27), Coma (25) and Auriol (24).
Quote of the day
Sébastien Loeb: "I think
we posted a decent time and we won't be opening the road tomorrow, so I think
it will be all right. We always follow the track, even though we sometimes
suspect that it's not the right one. But we stay the course because we don't
want to lose it. Our goal is to make it out of Peru in one piece. Failing to
find a waypoint can cost you dearly."
Source: Dakar Rally 2018
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