Dakar Rally: Toyota driver Bernhard Ten Brinke sets Prologue pace

Dutch driver Bernhard Ten Brinke took a surprise early Dakar Rally lead by topping the event's new Prologue stage on Saturday

Dakar Rally: Toyota driver Bernhard Ten Brinke sets Prologue pace

The primary purpose of the seven-mile test near Buenos Aires was to set the starting order for when the proper stages begin on Sunday, although the Prologue times still count towards the overall result.

UPDATE: Prologue halted after crash involving spectators

Ten Brinke upstaged the bigger names to set a time of 6m08s in his Overdrive Racing Toyota, three seconds quicker than double World Rally champion Carlos Sainz in the best of the factory Peugeots.

"It's amazing," said Ten Brinke. "We went really fast and made no mistakes. Not bad at all.

"That was just 11 kilometres, the real Dakar starts tomorrow, and it'll be good to start at the front."

Sainz achieved his time despite his car shedding its bonnet due to what Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin described as "a small weakness in the front bonnet attachment".

Another world rally convert holds an early third place - 2010 Super 2000 WRC champion Xevi Pons four seconds off Ten Brinke's time in a Ford Ranger.

Last year's Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah's Mini and the Toyota of Polish driver Marek Dabrowski are tied for fourth.

The other three works Peugeots of Stephane Peterhansel, Dakar debutant Sebastien Loeb and Cyril Despres hold ninth, 10th and 11th places respectively.

Former WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen began his first Dakar with the seventh-fastest time in another X-raid Mini, between team-mate Nani Roma and 2009 Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers.

LEADING PROLOGUE RESULTS:

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