Carlos Sousa leads after 1st stage of Dakar Rally 2014

Both cars in top 8 after stage 1.

07.01.2014

On the morning of January 6, 2014 Beijing Time, the first stage of Dakar 2014 wound up. Carlos Sousa of “Haval Dakar Team” – the Great Wall Motors team, outperformed favorites like Peterhansel, Attiyah and Sainz in Stage 1 for a flying start in the car category. This is also the first stage champion of Chinese teams in the Dakar. The other driver Christian finished the stage 8th. Following the stage, Sousa said excitedly, “This is a deserving win!”

Stage 1 stretched from Rosario to San Luis, covering 585 kilometers (including 180 kilometers for specials). The drivers who had to cross narrow sand-gravel roads in forests had great difficulty in overtaking. 147 cars, 174 motorcycles, 40 quads and 70 trucks were involved and all finished the stage safe and sound.

Despite the remarkable results of “Haval Dakar Team” as an important participant in the Dakar from China, Sousa’s flying start with a stage win is the first ever of the team. “We did well, but the stage was tough. It was hot but our car has no air-conditioning, our turbine broke down after 50 kilometers, the air from the engine blew against me, I estimate the cab temperature can reach 70 degrees. We drove well without any mistake, so we won. I’m happy to win for the manufacturer.” said Sousa following the stage.

American driver Gordon aboard Hummer departed behind schedules, and was 4 minutes and 7 seconds behind the leader Roma of Mini at the first CP, where Roma, Peterhansel and Attiyah ranked the top three, followed by Sousa ranking 4th. The Argentinean driver of Ford had to halt for a rescue truck due to mechanical failure at the 104th kilometer. As the defending champion, the French veteran had a flat tire.

Eventually, Sousa of “Haval Dakar Team” finished 1st by a lead of 11 seconds over Terranova, registering his second flying start after 2007. Attiyah of Mini, Roma of Mini, Sainz of SMG and Peterhansel of Mini finished the stage 3rd to 6th respectively. Christian, the other driver of “Haval Dakar Team” was placed 8th.

Following Stage 1, the drivers will face Stage 2 that stretches from San Luis to San Rafael, covering 724 kilometers (including 359 for specials). The first dunes come forth in the last 100 kilometers in Dakar 2014, which will be a challenge to the drivers’ sight.