Dakar, Day 1: Deja vu all over again

Photo: Flavien Duhamel / Red Bull Content Pool

The 2015 Dakar Rally kicked off yesterday, with Sam Sunderland charging hard out of the gate to take the first stage win.

If you remember much about last year’s Dakar, you’ll likely remember Sunderland seemed like he would mount a challenge for the overall win, with impressive performance early in the rally. Unfortunately for him, his Honda blew up. Now he’s with a new team (KTM), and yesterday he beat everyone for the first stage win.

Second place in the bike class went to Paulo Goncalves (Honda) and last year’s champ, Marc Coma, was third (KTM). There was very little time between the top three riders; Sunderland was five seconds ahead of Goncalves, and one minute, 12 seconds ahead of Coma. By the looks of it, Sunderland won’t have an easy time of it if he wants to win.

What of Cyril Despres, previous bike champ who’s moved to the Peugeot car team? Despres’ car ended up 33rd overall yesterday, with no problems to report. Another ex-motorcycle racer, former Honda ace Johnny Campbell (who dominated at Baja 1000 as rider and team manager for years, and also finished in top 10 at Dakar before) did much better. Campbell’s riding as Robbie Gordon’s navigator, and finished second overall yesterday.

You can see the top 10 rankings for motorcycles below, underneath the video. At this point, there isn’t much time separating the riders, and a crummy first day has left a few (like David Casteau) further down the standings than expected,. Expect that to even out considerably over the next few days.

Dakar2015 : Bike rankings after Stage 1

1. Sunderland (KTM) – 01:18:57

2. Goncalves (Honda) – 01:19:02 (00.00:05)

3. Coma (KTM) – 01:20:09 (00:01:12)

4. Barreda Bort (Honda) – 01:20:38 (00:01:41)

5. Duclos (Sherco) – 01:21:05 (00:02:08)

6. Israel Esquerre (Honda) – 01:21:13 (00:02:16)

7. Casteau (Yamaha) – 01:21:33 (00:02:36)

8. Walkner (KTM) – 01:21:39 (00:02:42)

9. Quintanilla (KTM) – 01:21:55 (00:02:58)

10. Faria (KTM) – 01:21:59 (00:03:02)


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