Dakar 2013 has begun! 183 bikes, 153 cars, 38 quads and 75 trucks for a total of 449 vehicles were at the starting blocks early this morning in Chorrillos (Lima) by the sea.
For the first time the South American Dakar takes a north-south perspective over the 14 stages and 8,420 km and today the riders started to tackle the costal desert of Southern Peru meeting the dunes already in the first special stage near Pisco.
HRC President Tetsuo Suzuki attended the opening ceremony of Dakar 2013 and personally wished the best of luck to Helder Rodrigues, Javier Pizzolito and Johnny Campbell on the starting ramp. After 250 km of liaison along the coast, the riders warmed up in the 13 km special before things get serious in just 24 hours on the sands of Peru, which will be the first decisive challenge of the rally.
For Team HRC, at their debut on the Dakar Rally as factory team after 24 years, it was a strategic prologue to decide the best starting position for tomorrow’s stage. Helder Rodrigues aimed at arriving behind his direct rivals and he finished 29th. It was a very positive start also for Javier Pizzolito, who finished 8th and Johnny Campbell, 49th.
Francisco Chaleco Lopez took the first stage of the 2013 Dakar in the motorcycle category in front of Frans Verhoeven and Pablo Quintanilla from Chile, third on a Honda CRF 450X.
Javier Pizzolito, SS1 8th 08’12 +0.21: “Finally the wait is over and the Dakar has begun! It was a very good start for me, I enjoyed the small dunes and the prologue that will decide tomorrow’s starting order. It was a nice warm up and I was feeling comfortable with the machine”.
Helder Rodrigues, SS1 29th 08’44 +0.53: “My target was to finish behind my direct rivals, so I’m happy with my position. It was a short but very nice stage and a good occasion to check the bike. It was a perfect start and it was amazing to see so many people”.
Johnny Campbell, SS1 49th 09’10 + 1’19: “It was a nice warm up today: first 250 km of liaison along the Peru coast and then a 13 km sandy Prologue. I feel comfortable with the machine and I’m very excited to be part of the Honda project”.
Tomorrow the riders will experience the dunes of Pisco which is a loop stage starting and finishing at Pisco (85 km liaison and 242 km of special stage).