Dakar: HRC Race Report Stage #1 - Buenos Aires (Video)

2015 HRC Rally Team Dakar race action shot

Honda Racing Corporation Press Release:

Countdown. Revs up. Clutch out. And with a roar the Dakar Rally exploded into life today. With three riders finishing the special in the top six, the race for Team HRC is most definitely underway.

Yesterday, was a chance for the riders to lap up a warm welcome from the thousands of fans gathered along the streets of Buenos Aires. Today, an altogether harsher greeting awaited as the first stage took to the track. Team HRC’s five riders all finished in the first seventeen positions.

The first of the Dakar's specials, at only 175 kilometers, was barely enough to unfold any significant differences, but already the pecking order is beginning to establish itself. Paulo Gonçalves rode a cracking pace aboard the Honda CRF450 RALLY, to finish in second, just five seconds behind the special's winner.

Joan Barreda, after setting off in the special at Baradero from second place, put in a fairly effortless and prudent performance. The Spaniard claimed fourth spot, 1’41 off Sunderland.

Jeremías Israel stormed his way to a final sixth place, tucked in behind the leaders, and Laia Sanz got acquainted with the track, riding a trouble-free special to finish in seventeenth.

Argentine Javier Pizzolito finished top out of the Honda South America Rally Team riders posting sixteenth place.

The squad arrived at the bivouac in Villa Carlos Paz after a lengthy liaison section of around 500 kilometers, where preparations for the second stage are already underway. The stage will be disputed tomorrow between Villa Carlos Paz and San Juan. The first dunes of the Rally Dakar 2015 will be there to welcome the participants.

Paulo Goncalves - 2nd + 00'05:

The first special served as a good warm-up. 175 kilometers and 700 liaison. It went well, with a second place, which was great. But it’s a very long and hard rally. You must have great team-work, be very focused, not make any mistakes and keep the mechanical and physical aspect in as good shape as possible, as this is not only a very long race, but a very tough one too.

Joan Barreda - 4th + 1'41:

A very quick stage, we got up to some high speeds, and it was difficult, as there was some damaged track due to the rain of the last couple of days. I caught up with Marc, but I stayed behind, taking it calmly. Let’s see how the next few stages go.

Dakar Rally 2015 Team HRC Stage 1:

Results Stage 1:

1 SUNDERLAND Sam         GBR     KTM Red Bull Rally Factory     KTM     1:18'57

** 2 GONCALVES Paulo         POR     Team HRC     Honda     + 00'05**

3 COMA Marc         SPA     KTM Red Bull Rally Factory     KTM     + 1'12

** 4 BARREDA Joan         SPA     Team HRC     Honda     + 1'42**

5 DUCLOS Alain         FRA     Sherco Rally Factory     Sherco     + 2'08

** 6 ISRAEL Jeremias         CHI     Team HRC     Honda     + 2'16**

7 CASTEU David         FRA     Team Casteu     KTM     + 2'36

8 WALKNER Mathias         AUT     KTM Red Bull Rally Factory     KTM     + 2'42

9 QUINTANILLA Pablo         CHI     KTM     KTM     +2'58

10 FARIA Ruben         POR     KTM Red Bull Rally Factory     KTM     + 3'02

11 PRICE Toby         AUS     KTM AUS Rally Factory     KTM     + 3'31

12 RODRIGUES Helder         POR     Team HRC     Honda     + 3'32

13 PAIN Olivier         FRA     Yamaha Racing     Yamaha     + 3'34

14 VILADOMS Jordi         SPA     KTM Red Bull Rally Factory     KTM     + 3'45

15 PEDRERO Joan         SPA     Sherco Rally Factory     Sherco     + 4'30

16 PIZZOLITO Javier         ARG     Honda South America Rally Team     Honda     + 4'32

** 17 SANZ Laia         SPA     Team HRC     Honda     + 4'46**

Dakar Rally Stage #2 Route Shot

TOMORROW’S STAGE:

STAGE 2 – Monday, 5th January

Villa Carlos Paz (ARG) – San Juan (ARG)

Liaison: 107 km

Special stage: 518 km

The longest stage:

Any rest will be short-lived, because before reaching San Juan, the competitors will have a particularly busy schedule: quite simply the longest special stage in the rally, which is varied enough to unsettle even the most experienced of drivers. Hard terrain at the start of the race will be followed by dusty sections in the middle of the day and a sandy stretch to finish. This is the first real test, which can only be successfully overcome through constant vigilance.

For more information: www.hondaracingcorporation.com

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