Dakar: Stage 1 Barcelona to Barcelona notes

Stage 1: Barcelona to Barcelona December 31, 2004 Liaison 27 km - Special 6 km - Liaison 17 km Total 50 km The people of Barcelona will be spectators to a Super Special staged on the beach. Stage 1: 2004-12-31, Barcelona to ...

Stage 1: Barcelona to Barcelona
December 31, 2004
Liaison 27 km - Special 6 km - Liaison 17 km
Total 50 km

The people of Barcelona will be spectators to a Super Special staged on the beach.

Stage 1: 2004-12-31, Barcelona to Barcelona.
Photo by A.S.O.
For the first time, the Super Special will not only serve to establish the starting order for the following day's stage, the times will also be taken into account for the official classification.

Over the 6 km of this route run on the beach, the slightest mechanical hitch could already be of consequence!

The motorcycle trunks will not be available here.

General:

12:42 Fast and furious...
Get ready for an action packed day on the beaches of Catalunya. The first stage of the Telefonica Dakar 2005 will take the drivers and riders on the beach of Castelldefels, just outside Barcelona for a super special. Unlike the previous two prologues in Marseille (1km) and Clermont-Ferrand (1.5km), the day's race will count for the overall standings and will take place on a longer 6km single track.

Competitors will take off one after the other every 30 seconds except the last 10 bikes and the first 10 cars (every minute). They will (unlike the previous years) be allowed to overtake.

The race course will be similar to the Castellon special (9 kms) from the last two editions only this one will only be competed on sand. The track will at its minimum be 15m wide and bulldozers have designed jumps and curves to make the race even more spectacular.

In what promises to be a great show, a rider like David Fretigne on his Yamaha two-wheel drive bike will be one to watch. He indeed finished victorious of the similar Castellon special last year and will be counting on a lighter 450cc bike. Cyril Despres will be wanting to clock the fastest time and grab an early lead in the overall. A winner on the beach of Castellon back in 2003, he as well, is a specialist of this kind of exercise.

Difficult to predict a winner on four wheels. It'll be a perfect test for the top teams who will want to prove what they are capable of. A good opportunity to see how the new Nissan and Volkswagen's behave on the first sand stretches of this Dakar.

Surprises however are to be expected. Some privateers could well clock times that would see them head to the leading positions of the overall, especially in the bike race. On the other hand bad surprises could occur and some could possibly say "adios" to the Dakar after only a few kilometres.

12:48 463 vehicles at the start
After the third and final day of technical and administrative scrutineering, that finished late in the evening of Thursday, 463 vehicles have been allowed to start the Telefonica Dakar race, added to 223 assistance cars and trucks. A total of 686 vehicles will be heading for Dakar for the 27th edition of the rally.

Bikes: 230 (including 6 quads and 1 side-car)
Cars: 164
Trucks: 69
Assistance: 223

Other than some late arrivals in Barcelona and some bad moments on the road to Catalunya for others, not the slightest vehicle failed to go through scrutineering. The only non-starter, the car of Canadians Maryline Lambelin and Catherine Corne, didn't show up in the Palau Sant Jordi of Barcelona at all. Other than that, by decision of the race inspection, the truck of Spaniards Fernandez and Agustin has been switched to the assistance category.

Bike:

12:53 They're off!
After The first 73 competitors made it to the finish line of the Castelldefels super special, Dutchman Arjan Brouwer (YAM -- n153) currently has the best time (so far) in 4'32"06.

After the 27km liaison from Barcelona to the beach of Castelldefels, the first rider to take off for the day's 6km special was Swiss Sandro Lavaro (KTM -- n250).

The bike favourites will take off in the last positions.

13:27 Orange power
With 165 riders now having made it to the finish line of the special, Dutchman Arjan Brouwer is still in the lead. The Yamaha rider is followed by his compatriot Rob Van pelt (HUS -- n81) who remains 20sec adrift. Third is Swiss Lavaro while another Dutch rider if fourth: Frans Verhoeven (YAM -- n145).

On the tricky 6km course, quite a few privateers are facing difficulties. In last position so far, Spaniard Alicia Martinez (YAM -- n223) is at over 42min from the current leader.

The main favourites are expected to start any minute now!

13:53 Quinonero 11th
Frenchman Pierre Quinonero (KTM -- n131), a former prologue winner back in 2002 in Arras, has clocked the 11th fastest time. Absent for the two previous editions due to injury, Quinonero is 45sec adrift. The best time of the super special is still that of Dutch rider Arjan Brouwer.

Joan-Manuel Gonzalez (BOM -- n244) is the first quad rider in 8th spot. Rik Deprez (YAM -- n241), also on a quad, is among the provisional top ten.

13:58 Verhoef new leader
The Netherlands remain on the top of the standings but this time Erik Verhoef (KTM -- n29) has taken the leadership in a time of 4'24"06. His compatriot Arjan Brouwer is second at 8sec, ahead of young American newcomer Kellon Walsh (KTM - n21).

14:11 Fretigne takes command
Winner of three stages last year including the beach special of Castellon on a similar course, David Fretigne (YAM -- n12) on his two-wheel drive official Yamaha has taken the lead. The Frenchman has a 13sec advantage on Erik Verhoef (KTM -- n29) and 21sec on Arjan Brouwer.

14:15 Fretigne claims super special
David Fretigne clinches the first special of this Telefonica Dakar 2005 rally, his fourth on a Dakar. The Frenchman on his Yamaha two-wheel drive machine managed the best time of 4'11"06 just ahead of his compatriot Cyril Despres (KTM -- n2), 8sec adrift. Erik Verhoef (KTM -- n29) manages to keep his excellent third spot at 13sec from the day's winner. Surprising newcomer, Kellon Walsh (KTM -- n21) grabbed an excellent 5th place at only 22-years of age. Bad day for Alfie Cox (KTM - n3) who appeared to suffer a and seems to suffer from a shoulder injury. KTM-Repsol rider Giovanni Sala (KTM -- n14) had to push his bike to the finish line with technical worries and finished in 183rd position, 8min adrift.

Car:

14:19 First cars on the track
After the last bikers, the first cars have completed the 6 kilometres of the Castelldefels circuit. As it stands, Bruno Saby (VW -- n307) has the fastest time in 4'25"08 with only nine competitors on the finish line.

Second is Colin McRae (NIS -- n308) at 8sec, while title holder Stephane Peterhansel (MIT -- n306) has the provisional third spot.

14:31 Gordon in the lead
With 24 cars already having made it to the finish line, Robbie Gordon (VW -- n317) surprises the field for his very first Dakar with the provisional best time in 4'20". The US driver is just ahead of Masuoka (MIT -- n309) at 2sec and De Villiers (NIS -- n314) at 3sec. Title holder, Stephane Peterhansel (MIT -- n306) has to settle for provisional ninth spot while Colin McRae (NIS -- n308) is eigth.

15:19 First US win in the car catgeory
As it stands with 119 having finished their special, American Robbie Gordon still has the fastest time of the day and is set to become the first US competitor in a car to win a Dakar special. The Volkswagen driver is still ahead of Masuoka (MIT -- n309) at 2sec and De Villiers (NIS -- n314) at 3sec.

15:59 Gordon officially wins
After all competitors took off for the first stage of the Dakar in the car category, Robbie Gordon on his Volkswagen race Touareg has officially won the super special beating Masuoka (MIT -- n309) by 2sec and De Villiers (NIS -- n314) by 3sec.

Gordon becomes the first American to win a Dakar stage in a car.

Truck:

16:10 Beckx early leader
Dutch driver Hans Bekx (DAF -- n524) has managed the best time in the truck special. With all the main favourites already on the finish line, Bekx looks to be headed for his first Dakar stage success. Second so far is Firdaus Kabirov (KAM -- n520) at 14sec while Jan De Rooy (DAF -- n521) is third. Title holder Vladimir Tchaguine (KAM -- n515) is 7th at 35sec.

-www.dakar.com-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Colin McRae , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Giovanni Sala , Bruno Saby , David Fretigne , Firdaus Kabirov , Frans Verhoeven , Arjan Brouwer , Hans Bekx