Nasser Al-Attiyah sets pace with solid run in opening round of tough Dakar Rally
Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and co-driver Matthieu Baumel of France race in the  first stage of the Dakar Rally between Lima and Pisco. AP

PISCO, Peru — Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah of Toyota won the first round of the rugged Dakar Rally on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).

The two-time winner of the race was timed in 21 minutes, 51 seconds for the 19 miles (31 kilometers) from Lima to Pisco. He finished 25 seconds ahead of Dutchman Bernhard ten Brinke of Toyota and 34 seconds in front of Peru's Nicolas Fuchs of Borgward.

France's Sebastien Loeb of Peugeot, the runner-up last year, had brake problems and was 29th in the round, 5:37 behind Al-Attiyah.

Loeb's countrymen and defending champion Stephane Peterhansel, also of Peugeot, also had a rough day. He finished 11th, 2:15 after the Qatari.

In the motorcycles race, British rider and defending champion Sam Sunderland of KTM was timed in 20:55 to win the opening round.

France's Adrien van Beveren of Yamaha was second, 33 seconds back. Chile's Pablo Quintanilla of Husqvarna was third, 56 seconds behind the leader.

Portuguese rider Joaquim Rodrigues fell from his motorcycle as he tried to jump a sand dune and had to be carried to a local hospital via helicopter. Portuguese media said the Hero team rider did not suffer heavy injuries.

In the truck race, Czech Ales Loprais of Tatra clocked 25 minutes, 15 seconds to win. Dutchman Martin van den Brink of Renault Trucks ended 22 seconds behind, with defending champion and Russian Eduard Nikolaev of Kamaz in third place 29 seconds after the leader.

 

The Dakar Rally will still race around Pisco on Sunday. On Monday the competition will move on to San Juan de Marcona, also in Peru.

Nasser Al-Attiyah 

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