The first special of the 2011 Dakar went to Cyril Despres' team mate Ruben Faria, just 29 seconds ahead of Cyril, with Marc Coma finishing in third place.
"We have done 1035 kilometres in two days, with a not so much sleep and not many special stage kilometres either, but the start of the Dakar has always been like that, whatever the hemisphere!
The special we did this morning was almost identical to last year's and it was interesting to compare riding it with the 450 as opposed to the 690. Obviously with the 450 you don't have the top speed, but on the other hand you can brake later and accelerate earlier, so that finally it more or less evens out. All that however is pretty academic. The important thing is that I felt good on the bike and was able to use the 200 kilometres to find my mark and get into the swing of things.
While I was riding the special I thought to myself, 'I bet Ruben goes well here'. It was very similar to the kind of terrain he has at home. Before the start I told him not to take any risks but to ride at his own pace and enjoy himself. It proves his riding ability and shows he is feeling confident on the bike, and that in turn puts me in confidence for the rest of the rally. All in all a very encouraging start."
-source: Cyril Despres