- 4th January
- Liaison Sections: 663 km
- Racing Stage: 175 Km
- Total Distance: 838 Km
It was an early start for the team, leaving the hotel in Buenos Aires for the 5:15am start at the Tecnopolis which is where the parc ferme was. Riders loaded the first Dakar road books and donned jackets for the first liaison section of 144 Km’s. The 175Km special started at 7:50am and it was to be Red Bull Factory KTM’s Marc Coma, that set off first. Marc won the 2014 Dakar as well as the 2014 World Rally championship, so he is definitely the man with the target on his back. KTM has 13 successive wins at the Dakar and all other manufacturers are hungry for a win.
It was a long and dusty stage, absolutely flat out! The route ran mostly between farms with long straights and sharp corners, pretty much like road racing on dirt. Red Bull KTM Factory rider Sam Sunderland took the win covering the 175Km special in a staggering 1 hour 18 minutes. Broadlink’s Riaan van Niekerk made his way on time to 12th overall before a 90 degree bend in the road sent him through a barb wire fence and into a hole, where spectators had to pull his bike out. He emerged relatively unscathed, with some bruises, but got back on track to finish the day in 22nd.
Times are tight up front with Gonzalves in second, Coma third, Barreda fourth and Duclos fifth. Walkner is in 8th, Faria in 10th, Toby Price in 11th and viladoms in 14th.