Engines heating up, January 2
Road section, 566 km - Special, 192 km
The first part of the first stage came with little surprises. After the start in Buenos Aires, the assembled crowds both cheered the riders on- and slowed them down. At a petrol station where a stop was necessary due to the length of the remaining route, a one-hour waiting line seemed normal. Partly as a result of this, the fast assistance car lost track of one of the riders. Luckily, the team had its four riders together at the bivouac only minutes after the assistance car joined the 6x6 truck that had raced ahead for the purpose of setting up camp for the night. Nevertheless, one lesson was learned: to be even more careful when scanning the line of riders at stops along the route. No rider is to be left behind.
The mechanics got a 'generous full-hour' sleep during their first night in bivouac. Shortly after the alarm went for the first rider, the mechanics retired. Starting times are 04:42 for Quinn Cody today, to be followed by the others at 04:55 for Vadim Pritulyak, at 04:57 for Mirjam Pol and finally 05:13 for Alexey Naumov. Allowing for a personal routine to each rider's choice, the first alarm went off at 03:20 hours. While this report is being written, no mechanic was in speaking mode: they plan to get up around five because the fast assistance car is to follow the riders immediately. As a result, the nature and extent of the nightly work shall be known later in the day. Most of their sleep, the mechanics will have to do sitting in the assistance car and/of in the assistance truck. For safety reasons, the vehicles' drivers were sent to sleep ahead, although nights are rather short for them, too. According to general expectation, this will not greatly improve during the rally. Even without any major problem surfacing, regular maintenance and fine-tuning took away the mechanics' sleep.
Today, the race actually starts with part two of stage one, including a special stage where the starting order will be changed according to each rider's clocked speed. During the day, everyone hopes for a repeat performance of yesterday: if the riders at least hold their ground and no technical problems occur, more work should be done in daylight. Minutes after relaying this message by satellite, the fast assistance car shall roll behind the competitors.