The 38th edition of the Dakar Rally – rightfully coined as the toughest race on earth – got underway Saturday with a 6.8-mile (timed portion) prologue stage at Tecnopolis Park in the north of Buenos Aires – the capital of Argentina.The prologue that circulated Baradero established the starting order for the Dakar Rally 2016, which begins Sunday, January 3, at Rosario.
As riders got used to the climate of the Southern Hemisphere and tune their respective machines, Team HRC’s Joan Barreda took the Dakar Rally 2016 prologue win aboard the Honda CRF450 Rally. Barreda won the stage after clocking a 6:27 – the same time as Husqvarna’s Ruben Faria, who will start second.Earning third during Dakar Rally 2016 prologue was Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Hélder Rodrigues, who pilots a WR450 Rally during his 10th appearance at the race. He joined Yamaha for 2015 after finishing 12th at Dakar Rally 2015 with Honda.Rodrigues was followed by Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team’s Adrien Van Beveren, who secured fourth in his first ever Dakar Rally ride.France’s Michael Metge finished fifth after posting a time just eight seconds off his teammate Barreda. He was followed by Honda South America Rally Team’s Kevin Benavides, who posted an identical time of 6:35.The top KTM 450 Rally pilot was Gerard Farres Guell, who was 9 seconds off Barreda’s time. Farres Guell finished ahead of Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla, KTM’s Stefan Svitko and KTM’s Jordi Viladoms, respectively.As for Honda’s Paulo Gonclaves, the favorite who finished second during Dakar Rally 2015 that was won by the retired Marc Coma, he finished a minute behind the winners due to some mechanical issues aboard his CRF450 Rally. He will start stage one of 13.The top American was Team HRC’s Ricky Brabec, the Honda CRF450 Rally pilot getting got his Rally Dakar debut in 22nd – 22 seconds behind teammate Barreda.Sunday’s opening stage will take 143 riders from Rosario to Villa Carlos Paz in Argentina. The grid will travel 393 miles, with 141 of those timed.
Dakar Rally 2016 Stage 1 Terrain
Argentina is a country of mountains, in all forms. Although the first stage is not yet at altitude, the summits are well and truly visible. The wheels of the vehicles follow sinewy and undulating tracks, with the exception of the first, faster, part of the special section. A partial separation of the categories will ensure dangerous overtaking is avoided (courtesy of Honda).Stay clicked to Ultimate MotorCycling for daily coverage and Dakar Rally results.
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From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!