At the Dakar 2022 it rains in the wet: with an already very demanding start for the pilots, vehicles and navigation, hail and storms are added. Petrucci plays the Jolly due to a technical failure.
The 409 cars on the starting list inaugurated the Dakar like never before. After leaving Jeddah along the Red Sea for a 225km northbound transfer, the starting shot for the qualifying round was fired at the entrance to the Medina region.
- Prologue - Jeddah> Ha'il
- 1st stage - Ha'il> Ha'il
- 2nd stage - Ha'il> Al Artawiya
- In competition with Oscar Polli
Prologue - Jeddah> Ha'il
The special of only 19 km presented the route to the participants: tracks and dunes in a timed sector all sand in which the competitors climbed to an altitude of almost 400 m. above sea level. The young man immediately stood out Daniel sanders on GasGas and the evergreen Nasser Al-Attiyah. The caravan then headed northeast for a 614km link to Ha'il, where organizers set up a loop route for the next day.
1st stage - Ha'il> Ha'il
After the night's rain over Ha'il and northern Saudi Arabia, fog enveloped the first competitors as they left the bivouac early in the morning. Some stone sections that alternated with sandy tracks (which made up 85% of the special) as well as 4% of dunes were very demanding. Last but not least, navigation, which was very complex and gave a brusque welcome to all pilots.
Daniel sanders has decided to start in 15th place and take full advantage of the advantages of the new regulation Dakar Rally. He passed the 14 riders ahead of him to cross the finish line of the special in first place. It is therefore not surprising that the GasGas biker set the best time, 2′07 ″ faster than that of Pablo Quintanilla. The Chilean Honda rider is also second in the general classification, where he leads the two-time stage winner by 3'07 ″. Further back, Matthias Walkner conceded over 10 minutes while several other favorites made quite critical mistakes: Kevin Benavides lost 36 minutes, Joan Barreda, 41, Toby Price, 47 and “Nacho” Cornejo, 53.
Well done Italian who closed the first real stage with the following order: 13th Danilo Petrucci, 24th Paul Lucci, 44th John Gritti, 51st Lorenzo Fanottoli to name those with the fastest pace.
2nd stage - Ha'il> Al Artawiya
In the second stage he wins Barreda! The Spaniard finished 5'33 ”ahead of Sam Sunderland. Kevin Benavides crossed the line in third place, putting KTM among the top three manufacturers in the lead along with Honda and GasGas.
Danilo Petrucci unfortunately it records a breakdown in its KTM, after the excellent result of the day before. Fortunately, while until last year the adventure in the Dakar would already be over, with the new one "Jolly" formula introduced this year (for those forced to stop due to a mechanical problem) Petrucci will be able to return to the race tomorrow, albeit with a severe penalty that will effectively exclude him from the possibility of fighting for the top positions in the overall standings.
Sam Sunderland (KTM) is the new leader of the general classification with a 2'51 ”lead over Adrien Van Beveren (YAMAHA). Daniel Sanders (KTM) completes the podium, 3'29 "behind the Englishman.
Very good Paolo Lucci who closes in 30th place followed by Fanottoli at 44th e Gritti at 45 °. They follow Zacchetti 66 ° e Peak 86 °.
Oscar Polli's comment
Our friend and correspondent Oscar Polli, navigator in the Tecnosport team via photos and audio messages he sends us his updates from Nissan Navara from 1991 (already used in several international rallies such as the Rally of the Pharaohs and the Dakar itself) number 767 driven by James Clerici.
“The real Dakar has begun, very hard especially for the cars, to which has been added a very unusual weather situation: rain and hail in the north of Saudi Arabia, which forced us to change the route and the stages for the Classic category. Navigation was also not easy, for all vehicles, including more experienced riders. The performance of the Lorenzo Maria Fanottoli, one of the young athletes I train, together with Lorenzo Piolini, who instead is suffering in the rear from the recent injury but advances with a knife between his teeth. "