PS Laser Racing Team stage 1 report

Great first racing stage in 2010 Dakar High speeds down narrow passages and lots of dust with a number of river crossings and no serious incidents marked the first racing section of the 2010 Dakar Rally. KTM motorcyclist, Cyril Despres (France)...

Great first racing stage in 2010 Dakar

High speeds down narrow passages and lots of dust with a number of river crossings and no serious incidents marked the first racing section of the 2010 Dakar Rally. KTM motorcyclist, Cyril Despres (France) said: "Before the proper racing starts you must first warm-up," and that is exactly what the South African veteran Dakar racer, Alfie Cox did. After starting in 30th position this morning Cox drove at a great pace, got into his own rhythm and paced the stage very well to finish 17th overall. "I am very happy with the stage, the car was outstanding; we had absolutely no problems, maybe I was over cautious, but it is early days and I want to make sure that we are close to the top ten by the time we hit the Atacama," said an up-beat Cox at the finish this afternoon.

As a result of good rains falling in the area, over the past few days, some of the lower bridges and river crossings were flooded. As a result the organizers were forced to extend the starting times by 30 minutes and moved the start along by 52km. The 199km special stage for cars finished to the east of Rio Tercero.

"Jurgen (Schroder) (Germany) was absolutely amazing, we had lots of turn- offs and tricky bends along the stage, and he did not miss one," commented Cox after the finish of the stage in Cordoba. "I have a bad headache, but I am sure it is just the tension that mounted over the past few days, and I should get rid of it tonight. Jurgen spent a lot of money on the car and I probably felt the responsibility of ensuring a good finish today. Point remains that I have obviously put myself under tremendous pressure, but I think after today the nerves will settle and I should enjoy it even more tomorrow," commented Cox.

"The support we get from Glyn Hall and his team is remarkable. We are treated as if we race as a factory team and not a privateer squad. Glyn arranged for 20 rims from Overdrive, so we could get tyres installed in advance, which means the mechanics do not have to waste time at the tyre installers every day. They can therefore spend more time checking the car and making sure everything is in order before the start of each stage. It is actually fascinating how much planning and attention to detail the crew went into prior to the event, but that is the difference between a privateer team competing and the professional approach Hallspeed Racing has," remarked Jurgen Schroder at the bivouac.

Three Nissans appear in the top-twenty tonight, Krzysztof Holowczyc (Poland) of the Nissan Overdrive Team, the team that finished fifth overall last year, is 6 minutes behind the leader in 7th place. Team Dessoude's Christian Lavielli (France), is in 14th place overall with Cox and Schroder in 17th position.

The top twenty is made up of 4 BMW's, 5 Volkswagens, 2 Hummers, 3 Nissans, 5 Mitsubishis and the Hamburger Software's Fast-Speed. Three teams are fighting hard at the front of the field, Volkswagen, BMW and the rejuvenated Mitsubishis. Robby Gordon was exceptionally lucky when he completely overshot a bend and narrowly missed a big rock with his Hummer.

Two Spanish drivers, Nani Roma in a BMW and Carlos Sainz in a VW fought it out for the first two places on the stage ahead of the second BMW driven by 9 time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel (France)

In the motorcycle category new team-owner and rider, David Casteu (France) clinched the stage on a 450cc Sherco, ahead of three KTM's of Cyril Despres (France), Marc Coma (Spain), and Jordi Viladoms (Spain). Tomorrow - Sunday, 3 January 2010 Cordoba > La Rioja

Tomorrow's stage takes competitors in a North-Westerly direction to the verge of the Atacama Desert;. The stage has a number of tricky bends, blind rises and cheeky jumps in its 355km special stage between Cordoba and the Gran Chaco region's La Rioja at the foot of the Velasco Mountains. Towards the middle of the stage a very long descent will test brakes early on in the car and truck race.

Finally a 276km liaison stage through Chanar, Punta de lo Llanos and Tallamuvuna leads to the bivouac and overnight point at La Rioja.

-source: ps laser rt

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Series Dakar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Carlos Sainz , Stéphane Peterhansel , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Nani Roma , Marc Coma , Krzysztof Holowczyc , David Casteu , Jordi Viladoms , Jurgen Schroder