The Argentinean duo of Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue led the way in a superb second position, as Overdrive Racing Toyotas held second, 14th, 16th, 22nd and 29th positions after the opening 13km special stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally at Pisco in Peru on Saturday.
The two Toyota Imperial South Africa Team Hiluxes of Giniel de Villiers and Duncan Vos were classified in seventh and 10th in the overall standings.
First blood in the world’s most famous off-road race fell to Spaniard Carlos Sainz and German co-driver Timo Gottschalk who posted a stage winning time of 7min 40sec in their Buggy to lead by eight seconds. Sainz’s Qatari team mate Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah holds joint third overall with Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit, two seconds adrift of Overdrive’s Alvarez.
One-hundred and eighty-three motorcycles, 38 quads, 153 cars and 75 trucks left the ceremonial start in Lima and drove down the Pacific Coast Highway to the opening special stage around the bivouac in Pisco. Competitors had spent the previous three days attending registration, documentation and scrutineering checks at the Magdalena site in Lima.
“We were able to carry out a shakedown before the start to give the cars a final check over,” said second-placed Alvarez. “This test allowed us to adjust the shock absorbers and solve a small problem with the electrics.”
The Polish duo of Adam Malysz and Szymon Ruta – partnered by their respective co-drivers Rafal Marton and Laurent Lichtleuchter – held 14th and 29th positions after the short opening stage. Dutchman Peter van Merksteijn and Belgian co-driver Eddy Chevallier were classified in 16th overall.
Australian Geoff Olholm and co-driver Jonathon Aston held 22nd overall in the Cairns Coconut Resort-supported Toyota, but Venezuela’s Nunzio Coffaro lost around 24 minutes with technical problems and was classified at the rear of the field at the wheel of the Team Azimut Toyota with co-driver Daniel Meneses.
Overdrive Racing has received additional valuable support from sponsors Toyota Belgium, Mistral, Donaldson Filtration and Michelin.
The Overdrive Racing Toyota chassis were built in Belgium in conjunction with Toyota Motorsport South Africa and Hallspeed and are powered by the 4.6-litre V8 engine that conforms to the latest FIA regulations. Overdrive is based at Villers-le-Bouillet, near Huy, in Belgium.
Tomorrow (Sunday), teams tackle the first loop stage around the Pisco bivouac and through some treacherous sandy terrain. In a total route of 327km, cars will tackle 242km of competitive action before returning to the Pisco bivouac for the second night.
Positions after leg 1 – Lima to Pisco, 13km (@16.00hrs)
Overdrive Toyota entries:
2. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Ronnie Graue (ARG) 7min 48sec
14. Adam Malysz (POL)/Rafal Marton (POL) 8min 26sec
16. Peter van Merksteijn (NED)/Eddy Chevallier (BEL) 8min 28sec
22. Geoff Olholm (AUS)/Jonathon Aston (GBR) 8min 42sec
29. Szymon Ruta (POL)/Lauren Lichtleuchter (FRA) 8min 55sec
TBA. Nunzio Coffaro (VEN)/Daniel Meneses (VEN) 32min 53sec
Toyota Imperial South African Dakar entries:
9. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (GER) 8min 15sec
13. Duncan Vos (ZAF)/Robert Howie (ZAF)“` 8min 24sec