Pablo Quintanilla posted second place in the prologue stage that kicked off the 2022 Dakar Rally, today. Barreda, ninth, Brabec, twelfth, and Cornejo, twenty-fifth, all completed the initial kilometres of the race without any setbacks.
The 2022 Dakar Rally is underway after the opening leg of a special stage which is set to finish tomorrow. Today saw a brief 19-kilometre prologue, for the most part over sand, but also featuring a small amount of dunes. Monster Energy Honda Team riders passed the first test with flying colours. With the curtain raiser out of the way, riders headed off to complete a lengthy liaison section which led them to the first Dakar bivouac in Ha’il.
Pablo Quintanilla came out guns blazing over the opening kilometres of the rally. The Chilean crossed the finish-line twelve seconds adrift of the day’s winner, Daniel Sanders. The prologue’s conversion factor, a coefficient of five, put him one minute behind the Australian, with the Monster Energy Honda Team rider now lying in second place in the rally’s overall standings.
Veteran Joan Barreda was the first rider in the RallyGP group to take the start. With a lot of dust in the air over the opening stretches and without any major references ahead, the Spaniard posted ninth on the day, three minutes behind the leader. American Ricky Brabec opted not to push too hard on the first day and took twelfth place, however, without dropping any significant time to his rivals. In his usual fashion, José Ignacio Cornejo produced a fairly reserved prologue. The Chilean from Iquique, who is 25th, is likely to pick up the pace as the race progresses.
This evening, at the drivers’ briefing, the top finishers will be able to choose the starting order for tomorrow’s stage 1B, a looping stage in Ha’il, including 333 kilometres of special stage. It will be run over sandy tracks, reaching an altitude of 1,300 metres, with a fair degree of navigational complexity. However, not all of the route will be against the clock: a total of 181 kilometres of liaison section will complete the day’s 514-kilometre total. The departure from the Ha’il bivouac will be at 05:45 and the first riders are expected to arrive back at the bivouac from 12:45 (local time) onwards.
|1||4||Daniel Sanders||GAS GAS Factory Team||00:55'30||-||-|
|2||7||Pablo Quintanilla||Monster Energy Honda Team||00:56'30||+00:01'00||-|
|3||16||Ross Branch||Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team||00:57'25||+00:01'55||-|
|4||1||Kevin Benavides||Red Bull KTM Factory Team||00:57'30||+00:02'00||-|
|5||52||Matthias Walkner||Red Bull KTM Factory Team||00:58'05||+00:02'35||-|
|6||42||Adrien Van Beveren||Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team||00:58'10||+00:02'40||-|
|10||88||Joan Barreda||Monster Energy Honda Team||00:58'30||+00:03'00||-|
|12||2||Ricky Brabec||Monster Energy Honda Team||00:59'25||+00:03'55||-|
|25||11||José Ignacio Cornejo||Monster Energy Honda Team||01:04'15||+00:08'45||-|