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The 2020 Dakar Rally has begun with a challenging and tough first stage that many have nicknamed 'Mini Dakar'. Stage 1 featured all different terrain that the Saudi Arabian edition could possibly offer - winding tracks, dunes, fast sections, and rocks.
The 319 kilometer opening stage was run between Jeddha and Al Wajh.
Hero MotoCorp's Paulo Goncalves is currently leading the Indian teams with a 12th place finish. The Portuguese racer said, "It was a really interesting start of the Dakar 2020. A big stage of 320 kms and a mix of everything from stony tracks to trials to sand dunes."
Goncalves felt navigation was complicated and that made him ride rather cautiously and in turn helped avoid any accidents and mishaps. The number 8 racer seems happy with how his season has started.
Sebastian Buhler who also racers for Hero MotoCorp finished the race at the 32nd spot. He felt it was a good stage, and said that the new motorcycle performed well.
Hero MotorCorp's CS Santosh said that he was excited with what the Saudi terrain had to offer. He said he enjoyed the fast stages and the tricky ones that had rocks and stones.
CS Santosh crashed at the stoney section and hurt his hand a little, but the Bangalore based racer said it was nothing he couldn't handle. He added that he was happy with how the race has started, and is glad to have stage one done with.
Hero MotoCorp's fourth team member Jaoquim Rodrigues did not finish the stage. He started the stage well but ran in to motorcycle trouble that could not be fixed.
He said that while he was looking forward to a fresh start at stage two, his overall race for results was over. His focus now is to finish stages and help his teammates as much as possible.
The Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team also have a four man team at the 2020 Dakar Rally. Adrian Metge finished on the top with a 15th place finish. Adrian was brought in as a replacement for Michael Metge who injured his knee during testing.
Johnny Aubert finished 22nd, while Lorenzo Santolino finished 26th. Santolino ran into mechanical problems but managed to have it resolved in time. Dakar debutant Harith Noah finished 111th in his first Dakar Rally ever.
The Dakar Rally reigning champion Toby Price took the overall lead and finished the stage in 3h19m33s on his KTM. American Ricky Brabec who races for Honda finished 2 minutes and 5 seconds behind Price.
KTM's Mathias Walkner finished third, 2 minutes and 40 seconds behind Toby Price.
In related news, two-time Formula1 World Champion Fernando Alonso made a fairly decent debut at the Saudi Edition of the Dakar Rally. The race car driver finished in 11th place in his Toyota.
Thoughts About Stage 1 Of The 2020 Dakar Rally Saudi Edition
We're sure the new terrain must offer a more thrilling race for all the racers. Congratulations to Hero MotorCorp and Sherco TVS for the outstanding results. We look forward to stage 2.