Selective quotes from first stage of the Dakar 2013.
015 - Frans VERHOEVEN I didn't drive very fast, just at a decent pace, enough to have fun but without taking any risks. But I'm happy, I've got the best time, but there are still ten drivers left and if I can do as well as last year and start among the first 15 tomorrow I'll be delighted. This was my objective today.
183 - Pablo QUINTANILLA "I'm a newbie. I'm a rookie. The terrain in this short special was good for me because I come from motocross and I thrive on sand. It was a nice surprise because it was a very short special tailored to riders like me. I'm delighted with this nice surprise. But the rally starts in earnest tomorrow, with the first tough stages. We have to stay calm. The next few days will be long. This is what we talked about with my Chilean rider friends. So now it's time to rest."
007 - Francisco LOPEZ "It was a bit difficult this morning. I was a bit sleepy during the link section. But the Dakar started with this special and the motorcycle woke up. Just like the rider. It turned out to be a fast section. I did well but I took it calmly. Tomorrow is quite different, we'll see."
259 - Camélia LIPAROTI This special was more of a warm-up, coming at the end of what was a jaw-dropping link section along the Pacific coast. And then there was this short 13-kilometre special around the dunes. Nothing really difficult, but I saw a few people getting stuck! But everything's going to plan. That's it, the Dakar is underway!
268 - Ignacio FLORES SEMINARIO "It goes without saying that I didn't expect to win this. But I don't want to make any mistakes. I've got to take things calmly. I'm not here to win the Dakar or achieve a top result. I'm here to finish the rally and make it to Santiago. I didn't manage to do it last year. And it's still my main goal. Today, this land I love has given me a beautiful win. This victory is for all of Peru, of course, but I can't overstate the importance of taking things calmly and patiently... There are still 14 days of racing to go."
303 - Carlos SAINZ "This stage was just a short prologue, about 13 kilometres long. It was just a warm-up. Things get serious tomorrow."
300 - Nasser AL-ATTIYAH It feels great to be racing after spending so much time on test drives. So I'm quite happy just to start the Dakar with this car. I put the pedal on the metal from the start and I'm happy with the time I posted in such a short special. Of course, everyone drove really hard today, but I think we're well placed for tomorrow's stage.
301 - Giniel DE VILLIERS Going through the first stage is always nice because it means the race is finally underway! Especially for me, as I haven't raced for a while. I've still got to take up some of my good habits again, and this special helped me with it, even when it came to navigating. So we're delighted with our time and position and looking forward to tomorrow...
302 - Stéphane PETERHANSEL The special was quite fun, with nice dunes and high speeds, but it wasn't easy because it's been a few months since the last time we drove a race car, so we need two or three days to get used to all this again. We hit the brakes for no good reason at the top of the dunes quite a lot, which cost us some time. We're going to ease into the rally...
500 - Gerard DE ROOY It was quite a straightforward special but we attacked nevertheless. There were two dunes which we had to tackle twice, but the rest went quite well. You know, the 3x coefficient can make this short special hazardous, because any mistakes you make are also multiplied by 3, so we didn't push our limits, but everything went well. Nothing to report...
501 - Eduard NIKOLAEV It was a very interesting day, but it was also very challenging, with large dunes. We attacked from the get-go and at the end it was a good day. Most importantly, it was really nice to see those crowds on the dunes. We feel that the Peruvians appreciate us and that they were looking forward to seeing us drive along. It was really incredible!
504 - Hans STACEY From the start of the special I was unable to maintain the right pace and, three kilometres into the stage, I misunderstood an instruction from my new navigator, with whom I speak in German, and took a wrong turn, so by the time I got back on track I'd already lost loads of time... Well, tomorrow is another day!
503 - Ales LOPRAIS It was quite a weird start, it takes some time to get used to it, but it's the same for everybody. I'll have to review shifting gears on this old truck, as I made a few little mistakes, but anyway, we're here and our start wasn't half bad. We're the smallest team in the Top 15 and we're alone in the race, so we haven't got any strategy. The heavens will decide, and for the time being they seem to be with us... Wait and see.