LIMA, Peru – Nasser Al-Attiyah kicked off the 2019 edition of the Dakar Rally by winning the opening stage on Monday.
Al-Attiyah completed the 84km timed stage in one hour, one minute and 41 seconds in his Toyota Hilux fielded by Toyota Gazoo Racing South America, which bested defending Dakar winner Carlos Sainz Sr. by one minute and 59 seconds.
Sainz actually finished ahead of Al-Attiyah on the road, but Al-Attiyah managed to chase him down after starting the stage behind him.
“The stage was tricky, not easy. There was a good line from the bikes and we didn’t push a lot,” said Al-Attiyah, a two-time Dakar winner. “The last 10km, we caught Carlos and tried to stay behind him until the finish. Today was not a short stage, full sand, it wasn’t easy. And tomorrow will be similar.”
Jakub Przygonski finished the day third overall and in the car category.
In the motorcycle category, Joan Barreda took victory in the opening stage by 1:34 over Pablo Quintanill. Nicolas Cavigliasso was the stage winner in the quad category by nearly 4 minutes.
Reigning truck division champion Eduard Nikolaev was the stage winner in the truck division. Reigning SxS division champion Eduard Nikolaev also kicked off his defense with a stage victory.