Dakar: Gordon takes first stage

NASCAR Nextel Cup star Robbie Gordon, making his Dakar rally debut, won the first stage of the 17-day event for Volkswagen

Dakar: Gordon takes first stage

In claiming the top slot on the 6km super special, run on Castelldefels beach near Barcelona, the former Champ Car driver became the first American driver to take a stage win in the history of the Dakar's four-wheel category.

"Really it wasn't an easy stage at all because of the softness of the sand on the course, especially after the jumps," said Gordon, who is used to off-road driving through his Baja 1000 victory. "But, I achieved good jump landings, and everything went well.

"I was very excited before the start, and it was a great moment with all the spectators. The Race-Touareg is really a wonderful car."

Mitsubishi's Japanese veteran Hiroshi Masuoka was the second man home ahead of Giniel de Villiers - the leading Nissan driver.

British star Colin McRae, taking part in his second Dakar for Nissan, came home eighth, 14s off the lead, just behind his team-mate and another event veteran - Ari Vatanen.

Multiple world rally champion Juha Kankkunen was 13th in another VW while former event winner Jean-Louis Schlesser, driving one his own Ford-powered buggies, was 25th.


Robbie Gordon/Dirk von Zitzewitz, VW Touareg, 4m20s
Hiroshi Masuoka/Andreas Schulz, Mitsubishi V60, 4m22s
Giniel de Villiers/Jean-Marie Lurquin, Nissan Pick Up, 4m23s
Bruno Saby/Michel Perin, VW Touareg, 4m25s
Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard, Mitsubishi Pajero Evo, 4m28s
Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons, VW Touareg, 4m30s
Ari Vatanen/Tiziano Siviero, Nissan Pick Up, 4m32s
Colin McRae/Tina Thorner, Nissan Pick Up, 4m34s
Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret, Mitsubishi V60, 4m35s
Josep-Maria Servia/Arnaud Debron, Ford, 4m37s

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