Stage 1: Team Peugeot-Total makes smooth Dakar debut05/01/2015 - 10:56

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Etape 1 : Buenos Aires - Villa Carlos Paz 04 january 2015

After the opening day of the Dakar Rally – and the first day of Dakar competition for Team Peugeot Total since 1990 – all three examples of the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR have returned safely to the overnight bivouac in Villa Carlos Paz, having successfully negotiated the opening 175-kilometre stage, followed by the longest individual road section (519 kilometres) of the entire 17-day event. Villa Carlos Paz is a familiar name to fans of rallying, as for many years now it has hosted Argentina’s round of the World Rally Championship. Some of the roads used on the Dakar in fact form part of the Rally Argentina route, with today’s action consisting of a wide variety of terrain, including open sections as well as tighter and more technical sections. On its Dakar debut, Team Peugeot Total’s goal is principally to get the car to the finish back in Buenos Aires on 17 January, around 9000 kilometres away following an arduous route that passes through Chile and Bolivia as well.

AUTO - DAKAR 2015 PART 1

The all-new PEUGEOT 2008 DKR, powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine, encountered no mechanical issues during its first day of competition, which gave all three drivers plenty of cause for encouragement as they embarked on their odyssey. With Team Peugeot Total switching to the longest event in its history from the very shortest – the record-breaking assault on Pikes Peak in 2013 – the challenge against the elements has never been bigger. Two-time world rally champion Carlos Sainz leads the PEUGEOT trio, in eighth on the stage and overall at the end of day one. “I’m happy – it’s been a good start,” said the 2010 Dakar winner. “Our key objective was to get through the stage with no problems and we’ve been able to do that. We’ve been able to judge our pace and it was good, even though today’s stage was not especially suited to two-wheel drive cars.” Two places behind Carlos, in 10th overall is 11-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel: the most successful competitor in the history of the event. Despite this, he confessed to some nerves before the start of the stage: “Yes, definitely, I was a little nervous,” he said. “For us it was all completely new: first start, first stage, and we have never driven on exactly these types of surfaces before. But it was a nice surprise: the pace was good, especially the top speed.”

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The ‘new boy’ in the team is Cyril Despres, contesting his first Dakar in a car after winning the bike section five times in the past. He finished the stage 33rd overall, also with no reported problems. “I’ve got a lot to learn but the very best teachers – and furthermore the sort of teachers that not everybody gets a chance to learn from!” he said. “I’m just taking things one step at a time and driving at my own pace.” Team Peugeot Total team principal Bruno Famin, who is very familiar with Argentina after spending seven years in the country, working for PEUGEOT, said: “We said we would take the rally stage by stage, so now we’re one down – which was really more of an extended prologue – and many more to go! It’s obviously much too early to conclude anything, especially as today’s stage did not really suit our car. However, we’re pleased to have got through the first day with all three cars. Stéphane had a puncture on the rear-right, allowing us to test the automatic inflation system. Tomorrow the action gets more demanding, with a long stage that will be a strict test.

AUTO - DAKAR 2015 SCRUTINEERING

Stage 2 (Villa Carlos Paz-San Juan): Monday 5 / 8:02am local time - 1458km (SS 518km)

Results after SS1:
1 Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (F) Mini (1hr 12min 50sec)
2 Orlando Terranova (ARG)/Ronnie Graue (ARG) Mini (1hr 13min 12sec)
3 Robby Gordon (USA)/Johnny Campbell (USA) Hummer (1hr 13min 54sec)
4 Giniel de Villiers (RSA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Toyota (1h4 14min 02sec)
5 Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Xavier Panseri (F) Mini (1hr 14min 06sec)
6 Emiliano Spataro (ARG)/Benjamin Lozada (ARG) Renault (1hr 14min 08sec)
7 Bernhard Ten Brinke (NL)/Tom Colsoul (B) Toyota (1hr 14min 28sec)
8 Carlos Sainz (E)/Lucas Cruz (E) Peugeot 2008 DKR (1hr 14min 56sec)
9 Erik van Loon (NL)/Wouter Roesegar (NL) Mini (1hr 15min 10sec)
10 Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/J-P Cottret (F) Peugeot 2008 DKR (1hr 15min 25sec)
33. Cyril Despres (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Peugeot 2008 DKR (1hr23min29 sec)

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