Paulo Goncalves of the Hero Motorsports Rally Team finished Stage 1 in 12th place while Adrien Metge of the Sherco TVS Rally Factory is 15th. Bengaluru-based CS Santosh had a minor crash but still managed to hold 39th place.
Dakar 2020 has commenced and Stage 1 has gotten off to an intense yet exciting start. The first surprise of the day was Vaidotas Zala finishing Stage 1 in the lead. The Lithuanian thus became the first driver to win a Dakar stage in a four-wheel-drive Mini since Mikko Hirvonen in 2016.
Dakar-legend Nasser Al-Attiyah led a majority of the 319-km opening stage but suffered three punctures towards the end of the stage. Veteran Stephane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz also lost a few minutes early on but managed to recover well and finishing the stage in second and third respectively. Al-Attiyah currently stands fourth.
Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso finished the opening stage of Dakar 2020 in 11th place, a little over 15 minutes slower than the leader.
Reigning champion Toby Price finished Stage 1 in 3 hours 19 minutes and 33 seconds – two minutes and five seconds ahead of American Ricky Brabec. Price had some initial trouble with his roadbook but managed to maintain a good pace to finish Stage 1 where he finished off the 2019 Dakar. Matthias Walkner of the Red Bull KTM Factory Team finished in third place.
Indian outfits, Hero Motorsports Rally Team and the Sherco TVS Rally Factory also had a reasonably good start. At the end of stage 1, Paulo Goncalves of the Hero Motorsports Rally Team leads the Indian contingency in 12th place. TVS rider Adrien Metge, who replaces his brother Michael Metge on the team secured 15th place in stage 1. Bengaluru-based CS Santosh, despite suffering a minor crash in the opening stage, managed to secure 38th place at the end of the first stage.
After Stage 1:
12. Paulo Goncalves - Hero Motorsports Rally Team
15. Adrien Metge - Sherco TVS Rally Factory
21. Johnny Aubert - Sherco TVS Rally Factory
26. Lorenzo Santolino - Sherco TVS Rally Factory
31. Sebastian Buhler - Hero Motorsport Rally Team
38. CS Santosh - Hero Motorsports Rally Team
105. Harith Noah Koitha Veettil - Sherco TVS Rally Factory