Carlos Sainz won the first stage victory for Audi in the Dakar Rally. The Spaniard covered the 255-kilometer section around Al Arabia in nearly 2 hours and 53 minutes. Hank Lategan finished second with Toyota in just 38 seconds, and Sainz teammate Stefan Peterhansel finished third.
The three-time Dakar winner was behind Lategan for most of the stage. Carlos did not allow the South African to take a serious lead. In the last kilometers, the Audi driver overtook Hank and recorded the 40th stage success and the first one for an electric car. Third place went to Peterhansel, who returned to the race thanks to the new rules. The Frenchman lost more than 20 hours on the first day and lost all chances for a good performance.
Nani Roma finished fourth in the Prodrive buggy, followed by Matthias Extreme in Audi’s third car and Yazid Al Raji in a private Toyota. The top 10 was supplemented by the teammates in the factory team of the Japanese Ginel de Villier and Nasser Al-Atiya, Lucio Alvarez with the other private Toyota. The tenth place went to Roma teammate Orlando Terranova. The winner of the second day, Sebastian Loeb, had technical problems, which caused him to lose about half an hour.