Australian desert racer Ben Grabham has made a solid start to the 2014 Dakar Rally, currently sitting in 11th place after Stage one.
The Bathurst rider departed Rosario, Argentina through 405 kilometres of dust and slippery gravel roads to settle into the rally, starting in 32nd place to finish the 180-kilometre competition stage in 02:30:21, four minutes and 50 seconds behind Spanish leader Joan Barreda Bort, completing a further 224-kilometre journey to the stage camp in San Luis.
Grabham said there was “no room for error” on the slippery mountainous terrain, “I took my time in the dust and pushed a little where I could see.”
Happy with a solid first-up effort, Grabham will have a better starting position for Stage two to be able to better position himself among the faster riders.
The 700-plus kilometre Stage two of the Dakar Rally includes a 359-kilometre competitive stage, taking the riders 2000-metres above sea level around Sierra Navado before hitting the sand and dunes the Dakar Rally is renowned for.
2014 Dakar Rally – Stage 1 – Rosario, Argentina – results and overall rankings:
2. M.Coma (ESP) KTM 02:26:08 00:00:37
3. C.Despres (FRA) Yamaha 02:27:11 00:01:40
4. A.Duclos (FRA) Sherco 02:27:27 00:01:56
5. P.Goncalves (PRT) Honda 02:27:56 00:02:25
6. F.Lopez Contardo (CHL) KTM 02:28:55 00:03:24
7. J.Pedrero Garcia (ESP) Sherco 02:29:18 00:03:47
8. M.Metge (FRA) Yamaha 02:30:04 00:04:33
9. S.Sunderland (GBR) Honda 02:30:04 00:04:33
10. A.Botturi (ITA) Speedbrain 02:30:19 00:04:48
11. B.Grabham (Aus) KTM 02:30:21 00:04:50