Dakar teams head for Granada

Dakar teams head for Granada

The first day of 2005, and the second of the 2005 Dakar Rally, was a liaison day, and saw the teams travel some 900 km down the Spanish motorways from Barcelona to Granada, with a checkpoint and a lunch stop in front of the fans at ...

The first day of 2005, and the second of the 2005 Dakar Rally, was a liaison day, and saw the teams travel some 900 km down the Spanish motorways from Barcelona to Granada, with a checkpoint and a lunch stop in front of the fans at Castellon.

Competitors ready to go.
Photo by Nissan Rally Raid Team.
The winner of the Barcelona beach superspecial, Robby Gordon, led the way in his VW Race-Touarego for the cars, ahead of Mitsubishi's Hiroshi Masuoka and Nissan's Giniel de Villiers. The trio had finished yesterday's opening stage just three seconds apart, a pittance with over 8000 km still remaining in the rally.

Today's drive was long for the machines designed for the desert and for drivers keen to tackle it. While a motorway cruise may seem like a pleasurable Saturday drive for most people, for the Dakar crews it was simply a necessary step en route to Africa.

While tomorrow the teams will still be in Spain, at least there will be action: the third day will see the teams tackle a 10 km superspecial on the Granada military proving grounds before crossing the straits of Gibraltar en route to Rabat, Morocco, and the first sights of the desert.

David Fr?tign?.
Photo by Gauloises Racing.
On the bikes, which were not to be trailered during the motorway segment, David Fretigne holds an eight-second lead over Cyril Despres. Fretigne's two-wheel-drive Yamaha 450 WR 2TRAC was unbeatable in the soft sand -- his time beat Gordon's Touareg by nine seconds as well -- and the Yamaha rider was able to start the rally on a high note.

Further back in the standings, French KTM privateer pilot Denis Comte became the first rider to withdraw from this year's Dakar. Comte's assistance van was broken into in Barcelona, and his money, credit cards and travel documents stolen, making it impossible for him to continue on to Morocco and the rest of the rally.

As the trucks, much slower in Barcelona's soft sand, rumbled down the motorway toward Granada, they were led by Hans Bekx, who manhandled his DAF to a time 15 seconds better than that of the leading Kamaz pilot, Firdaus Kabirov.

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