Stage 1: Region d'Auvergne to Narbonne Thursday, January 1, 2004 Prologue: 2 km - Liaison: 395 km - Total: 397 km Big start today of the Telefonica Dakar 2004 with a prologue at 12.00 and the first stage of the 26th edition. The prologue will...
Stage 1: Region d'Auvergne to Narbonne
Thursday, January 1, 2004
Prologue: 2 km - Liaison: 395 km - Total: 397 km
Big start today of the Telefonica Dakar 2004 with a prologue at 12.00 and the first stage of the 26th edition. The prologue will take place on a 1.5km parallel course just a few meters away from the Grande Halle d'Auvergne. An interesting battle between the top favourites who will want to show just how impressive their machines are. The bikers will be the first to take off just before the bikes and the trucks. Times will not be taken into consideration, only the positions will be used for the start of the second special around Narbonne.
After the prologue, the competitors will take the motorway for a 395km liaison all the way to Narbonne.
15:25 GRAZIANI SURPRISE
Matteo Graziani (KTM -- n45) surprised everyone by winning the 1.5km prologue staged just outside the Grande Halle d'Auvergne. The Italian beat two of the rally favourites, Cyril Despres (KTM -- n2) and Richard Sainct (KTM -- n1) with Esteve Pujol (KTM -- n19) taking fourth place ahead of Yamaha rider David Fretigne (n12).
The final times of the prologue will not be taken into consideration for the standings. Italy's Fabrizio Meoni finished 22nd.
16:38 SHINOZUKA ONE YEAR AFTER
In the car race, Kenjiro Shinozuka proved that he was a specialist for short distance prologues. A year after conquering the Marseille race, the Japanese finished under a second ahead of De Villiers (Nissan -- 208) and Miki Biasion (Mitsubishi -- n206). Winner of the 2003 rally, Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi -- n201) took fourth spot with Luc Alphand (BMW -- n207) fifth.
Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi -- n203) finished 8th after slightly damaging the front of his car. Newcomer Colin McRae (Nissan -- n202) started his Dakar experience with a 28th place on this prologue.
18:05 WINNING START FOR TCHAGUINE
In the truck race, the winner of the past two editions Vladimir Tchaguine (Kamaz -- n414), started this 26th edition of the Dakar in a triumphant way. The Russian beat rally veteran Johannes De Rooy (DAF -- n411) while Dutchman Hans Bekx (DAF -- n416) finished third.