Dakar: Carlos Sousa leads after first stage

Carlos Sousa claimed an early lead as the 2014 Dakar Rally got underway with Sunday's run from Rosario to San Luis

Dakar: Carlos Sousa leads after first stage

At 112 miles, the stage was a relatively gentle opener compared to the rest of the route awaiting the crews over the next fortnight.

Sousa took his Haval through in 2h20m36s, 11 seconds quicker than Orlando Terranova's X-raid Mini, with 2011 winner Nasser Al-Attiyah third in another Mini.

Their 11-time Dakar winning team-mate Stephane Peterhansel had an early puncture and finished four minutes adrift in sixth, behind Nani Roma and Carlos Sainz, who found his Buggy ill-suited to the stage.

Peterhansel gives AUTOSPORT a ride - in the snow

2009 winner Giniel de Villiers ran into power steering trouble and dropped 15 minutes, leaving his Toyota back in 27th place.

But he fared better than former CART and NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, whose Hummer was late onto the stage and lost over two and a half hours with vapour lock and overheating problems - marking the second year in succession that Gordon has had a torrid opening day.

Leading positions after stage one: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Carlos Sousa Haval 2h20m36s 2. Orlando Terranova X-raid Mini +11s 3. Nasser Al-Attiyah X-raid Mini +47s 4. Nani Roma X-raid Mini +1m15s 5. Carlos Sainz SMG Buggy +4m03s 6. Stephane Peterhansel X-raid Mini +4m21s 7. Krzysztof Holowczyc X-raid Mini +4m21s 8. Christian Lavieille Haval +5m42s 9. Leeroy Poulter Imperial Toyota +5m57s 10. Erik van Loon XDakar Ford +6m02s 
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Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sousa