Today, the Dakar Rally finally started into its 2017 edition, with stage one taking the field from Paraguay’s capital Asuncion to Resistencia, Argentina. Prior to the border crossing the drivers had to contest a short 39-kilometre special stage. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Michel Périn (FRA) set the ninth-fastest time.

“Actually, everything went well today,” revealed Hirvonen. “The track was fast but featured several surprising holes and bumps. But we had no problems and I’m happy with how we fared. Nonetheless, I have to admit that I tend to decelerate too much on very bumpy roads. I still lack the feeling for the car, in these situations. I’m looking forward to having to contest a real cross-country stage instead of another sprint, tomorrow.”

Tomorrow, the competitors will have to cope with a clearly bigger challenge: a total distance of 802 kilometres from Resistencia to San Miguel de Tucuman, with 275 of them representing the special-stage distance. It will be a typical Argentinean special stage, mainly reminding of WRC routes. And due to the dispersed dust, overtaking will be extremely difficult.

Result Dakar 2017 SS1:
1. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 25m 41s
2. X. Pons (ESP) / R. Garcia (ARG) Ford – 26m 05s
3. N. Roma (ESP) / A. Haro (ESP) Toyota – 26m 10s
4. C. Sainz (ESP) / L. Cruz (ESP) Peugeot – 26m 14s
5. G. de Villiers (KZA) / D. Von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 26m 22s
9. M. Hirvonen (FIN) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI John Cooper Works Rally – 27m 01s