With probably more to lose than to gain on today’s brief appetiser, Team Peugeot Total preferred a cautious start to the 2017 Dakar. Today’s opener produced a trouble-free run for the team and its four crews all reached the overnight halt in Argentina inside the provisional top 12.
♦ The first leg of the 2017 included a short, narrow stage (39km) as the four PEUGEOT 3008DKR crews headed south out of Paraguay en route to the event’s first overnight halt in Resistencia, Argentina.
♦ The Dakar’s first visit to Paraguay (the 30th country to have hosted the rally) may have been short but it turned out to be an intense experience. All four Team Peugeot Total crews commented on how tricky the stage’s opening kilometres were but none of the French Dream Team members reported any major problems.
♦ In keeping with the regulations, the times posted on today’s test will decide the starting order for Tuesday’s stage. The PEUGEOT 3008DKR will be fourth, sixth, eighth and twelfth on the road for tomorrow’s run from Resistencia to San Miguel de Tucumàn. The 803km leg will include 275km of against-the-clock action.
TYPE OF TERRAIN: narrow, tricky tracks and water splashes.
WEATHER: dry and hot (34°C).
AVERAGE SPEED: 100kph.
TOP SPEED REACHED: 180kph.
Classification – Leg 1
1. AL ATTIYAH Nasser (QAT) / BAUMEL Matthieu (FRA), Toyota Hi-Lux, 25m41s
2. PONS Xavier (ESP) / GARCIA Ruben (ESP), Ford, +24s
3. ROMA Nani (ESP) / HARO Bravo (ESP), Toyota Hi-Lux, +29s
4. SAINZ Carlos (ESP) /CRUZ Lucas (ESP), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +33s
5. DE VILLIERS Giniel (ZAF) / VON ZITZEWITZ Dirk (ZAF), Toyota Hi-Lux, +41s
6. LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MC), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +55s
8. DESPRES Cyril (FR) / David CASTERA (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +1m14s
12. PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET J-P. (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +1m34s
Carlos Sainz (PEUGEOT 3008 DKR #304)
Leg 1: 4th / Overall: 4th
“Today’s opening stage went well for us, with no problems. It wasn’t easy, though. Some parts were extremely narrow, while others were very bumpy as well. Everything went well for us in Paraguay and here we are in Argentina already. The people here have become big Dakar fans and we can be sure of an enthusiastic welcome!”
Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 3008 DKR #309)
Leg 1: 6th / Overall: 6th
“Everything’s okay, but today’s stage was quite complex and it didn’t really suit my driving style. The terrain didn’t really suit the car, either. It was quite fast, very narrow and pretty rough, with a few hazards and some drainage ruts. I decided not to take any risks and drive on the cautious side.”
Cyril Despres (PEUGEOT 3008 DKR #307)
Leg 1: 8th / Overall: 8th
“It was a fairly intense day. This is my 17th Dakar but today’s run was certainly one of the trickiest starts I can remember. You could easily have lost time during the first three kilometres of the stage which were very twisty and damaged by rain. The main thing was to stay focused and I think accurately reading the road will be one of the biggest challenges we face over the next few days as a result of the recent poor weather. It’s always fun to drive the 3008 DKR but it’s important to keep a cool head in order not to make any mistakes.”
Stéphane Peterhansel (PEUGEOT 3008 DKR #300)
Leg 1: 12th / Overall: 12th
“Today’s short stage reminded me of Brazil’s Sertoes Rally. I took it very cautiously because it’s been six months since I last drove competitively. It wasn’t easy to find a good pace and I didn’t feel completely relaxed, so I built in a big margin for error. Too big, in fact! I will need to be more awake tomorrow. It didn’t help being first on the road, running in the ruts carved out by the quadbikes, but it wasn’t a massive problem. The gaps were small and the main thing is that the car went well.”