“This first stage was very slippery. The majority of the riders who are in front chose to ride with motocross tires and they had a better grip. Unfortunately, we have only desert tires and it is difficult to be fast with them in the muddy sections. The Dakar is very long and I wish to arrive OK in Buenos Aires, on January, 14. Happy New Year to all the motorsports fans!”
Mani finished the first special stage of the 39 edition of the Dakar Rally on 33rd position, his time: 31 min 18 sec. The stage held on January 2nd was a warm-up, and led the rally from Asuncion (Paraguay) to Resistencia (Argentina), with a 39-km special stage that was a real mud bath in some sections.
The first of the 12 stages was preceded by the ceremonial start which took place in Asuncion, on January 1st, in front of the Palacio de Lopez (Presidential Palace). The presidents of Paraguay and Bolivia, Mr. Horacio Cartes and Mr. Evo Morales, respectively, also participated among the thousands of spectators who came to see the competitors.
Almost every day spent in Asuncion the competitors were forced to face a temperature of 36 degrees Celsius and a heavy rain, and all this put a serious mark on the special stage. The “prologue” was won by the French rider Xavier De Soultrait (Yamaha).
After the special stage, Mani rode for almost 400 km in the liaison that took the rally over the border to Argentina.
On January 3rd the second stage of Dakar 2017 is scheduled, and it will take place in Argentina between Resistencia and San Miguel de Tucuman, with a total of 803 km – the special stage is 275 km. Named Chaco, this region from Argentina is known to motorsports fans due to the WRC stages held here. If normally in this area the dust is the key factor, tomorrow it seems that the mud will be the word of the day.
The 2017 edition of Dakar Rally started on January 1st with the ceremonial start and continued on January 2nd with the first special stage. After the stages from Paraguay and Argentina the rally will arrive to Bolivia for six days at 3,000 m above sea level. The ninth South American edition of the Dakar will end on January, 14 with the Buenos Aires arrival.