Dakar Rally: Al-Attiyah takes early lead for Toyota, Loeb delayed

Two-time Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah topped the opening Lima-Pisco stage of the 2018 event, as Sebastien Loeb struggled with an early brake problem

Dakar Rally: Al-Attiyah takes early lead for Toyota, Loeb delayed

Al-Attiyah completed the timed section of the stage in 21m51s in his four-wheel-drive Toyota Hilux car, and will therefore have to open the road during the first proper marathon run of the event on Sunday.

Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Bernhard ten Brinke clocked in as his nearest rival, 25 seconds off the pace.

Their trouble-free start to the event was in stark contrast to Loeb's, the nine-time World Rally champion ending up almost six minutes slower after his Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi developed a brake issue in the opening miles.

The Saturday stage, first of the five that comprise the Peruvian leg of the rally, was made up of a 150-mile road section between the ceremonial start in the capital and Pisco, and a 19-mile timed special traversing sand dunes around the latter.

Local hero Nicholas Fuchs, a WRC2 event winner, made up the top three in Stuttgart manufacturer Borgward's BX7 car.

Rookie Bryce Menzies led the way for X-raid Mini's all-new two-wheel-drive buggy, finishing four seconds behind Fuchs.

The two other Mini buggies in the field finished eighth and 13th, in the hands of Mikko Hirvonen and Yazeed Al-Rajhi respectively.

Back with X-raid after a single Dakar with Toyota, 2014 winner Nani Roma was the best of Mini's four-wheel-drive John Cooper Works Rally cars in fifth.

He was only a second quicker than Toyota's Giniel de Villiers, both slotting in within a minute of stage leader Al-Attiyah.

Loeb's issue aside, Peugeot had a muted showing on the opening stage, as all four of its factory entrants missed the top 10.

Last year's winner Stephane Peterhansel, having opened the road, was the leading Peugeot, finishing two minutes behind Al-Attiyah in 11th and just a few seconds up on squadmates Cyril Despres and Carlos Sainz.

Leading positions

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Toyota 21m51.s
2 Bernhard Ten Brinke Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Toyota 25.s
3 Nicolas Fuchs Borgward Rally Team Borgward 34.s
4 Bryce Menzies X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 38.s
5 Nani Roma X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 53.s
6 Giniel de Villiers Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Toyota 54.s
7 Lucio Ezequiel Alvarez Overdrive Toyota Toyota 1m12.s
8 Mikko Hirvonen X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 1m36.s
9 Jakub Przygonski X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 1m45.s
10 Martin Prokop MP Sports Ford 2m04.s

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Toyota: Peru stages key to defeating Peugeot in 2018 Dakar Rally

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