The first special stage, 330 kilometers of mostly unknown terrain, was the first test awaiting the racers, containing a mix of difficult navigation, fast off-road areas, sand and the first dunes. It was more than enough to open the proceedings and familiarize everyone with the Egyptian terrain.Many of the competitors described it as a difficult day, with several of the front runners quickly bunching up and running together, keeping a close eye on one another. As a part of this “game,” Joan Barreda (Husqvarna), who started 8 minutes after the trailblazer Ullevalseter, broke away from his rivals in the final part of the stage with an unstoppable sprint.“He was really on the gas,” confirmed Jordi Viladoms, “and we were surprised by the speed of his Husqvarna on the straights. Personally I navigated very well, and I’m happy with my day.”Viladoms, the winner of the Sardegna Rally Race, was third fastest on the opening day.It turned out to be a one-two finish for Husqvarna, with Paulo Goncalves coming in 5 minutes behind his teammate. Jakub Przygonski, in fourth place, was the fastest from Team Orlen, who also saw Jacek Czacho and Marek Dabrowski in sixth and seventh places, respectively.Joining the top 10 was the quad of Polish rider Rafal Sonik, aboard a Yamaha Raptor. He was 27 seconds ahead of his compatriot and rival Lukasz Laskawiec. Camelia Liparoti, happy with her day, was fourth of the quads, behind Frenchman Sébastien Souday. Diocleziano Toia (Beta) and Paolo Bellini (Alfer), eleventh and twelfth respectively, were the top Italian finishers.Tomorrow’s second special stage will be a long loop around the oasis of Baharija. It will be a route with magnificent views, and which requires considerable energy to cover the 347 kilometer length.