Dakar 2016 gets underway on Monday after bad weather ruled out Stage 1.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory rider Ruben Faria put in an impressive ride in Stage 2 of the Dakar Rally on Monday to narrowly miss the stage victory by just 20 seconds. Faria, who shared fastest time honours in Saturday’s prologue, has established himself as a rider to watch in this 39th edition of the famed offroad event. He was a leading rider throughout the 354km timed special and was only narrowly defeated by stage winner Toby Price in the last section.
Ruben Faria: “Today I started second behind (Joan) Barreda. I pushed a little bit and I caught him. After that I rode at a good speed. I’ve got a good feeling with the bike and the bike was really good. We’re at the beginning of the race, but I’m feeling good.” Taking into account Faria’s impressive ride in the prologue, he is only two seconds behind Price in the overall standings.
Faria’s factory teammate Pablo Quintanilla of Chile secured his top-10 finish in the stage and is only 4 minutes 32 off the winning pace. “It was a fast stage with a lot of vegetation,” Quintanilla said. “I didn’t feel too good at the beginning of the stage so I was conscious of not taking any risks. I think it was a good start to the race. Some parts had quite a lot of mud after yesterday’s rain but the rest was okay.”
Husqvarna-supported rider Jacopo Cerutti of Italy also had a good day, finishing 31st to be just under 16 minutes short of the leading time. Pela Renet, the third member of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team made up good ground and trails by 22 minutes 29. He and Cerutti are contesting their first Dakar Rally.
Organizers decided to cut the original distance of the timed special by about 100km after torrential rain forced the cancelation of the opening stage and created difficulties with track conditions. Competitors still had a total distance of almost 800km (with a 354km timed special) to ride from Villa Carlos Paz to Termas de Río Hondo.
On Tuesday riders have another long day over a distance of 663km with a timed special of 314km from Termas de Río Hondo to San Salvadore de Jujuy. They will need to focus while tackling mountain tracks, which organizers say may be tricky if the soil is made heavy by more rain.
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