The Dakar is now officially in full swing after have a rained out stage one yesterday. Drivers had to deal with the aftermath of the rain during today’s stage, but Sebastien Loeb was able to navigate his way to crossing the finish line first.
“I was stuck in the mud at the middle of the stage and was lucky to get out. I got stuck for maybe two minutes, something like that. At that moment I didn’t believe I would get out like I did. Finally, I managed to join the field again and resume the stage, but it was really on the limit so I was a bit afraid,” Loeb had to say after finishing the stage.
Loeb continued, “The car is really performing well and I’m really happy with the result at the moment, so we have to continue. Tomorrow we will open the road and that will be another story, but at the moment it’s going perfectly. The car was ok. I just had some braking problems after the mud. When I was stuck in the mud I think my brakes got full of mud. I had to press long on the pedal and pump a lot on the corners but then it came back ok.”
Other drivers dealt with muddy conditions, Nasser Al-Attiyah got stuck and dealt with a flat tire while Carlos Sainz mentioned “We were stuck for thirteen minutes!”
Robby Gordon finished the stage in 22nd place 17:37 minutes behind Loeb. In the other Gordini Sheldon Creed racing in his first Dakar finished in 33rd place 35:08 minutes behind the stage winner.
Gordon said after the stage, “Total mud, it was really unfortunate as we had a really good run going. It was going really, really good and then we got stuck. We gave up quiet a bit of time there. Kellon (Walch) had to get out and dig us out.”
Teams will begin tomorrow’s stage on pavement which should favor some of the faster drivers like Gordon. Stay tuned for more updates on this year’s Dakar Rally.