On Monday, Isidre Esteve completed the first stage of Dakar 2019, his fourth in a car and third in a row. The Repsol Rally Team driver was cautious in the initial stage, aware of the dangers that are usually involved on the first day of the race. The driver from Lérida completed the 84 kilometres in 39th place overall and 9th in the T1.2 category in his Dakar Sodicars Racing prototype with adapted controls on the steering wheel.
The day took the drivers from Lima to Pisco, with 247 liaison kilometres and 84 special kilometres. Isidre Esteve and his co-driver Txema Villalobos set a steady and safe pace that allowed them to overcome the first Peruvian dunes without any problems. Their final time of 1 hour, 19 minutes, and 59 seconds placed them in the top 10 in their category, reserved for off-road modified 4x4 vehicles.
"We overcame the first stage without making any mistakes and at a good pace, but we also didn't take any risks because there were several dune drop-offs that required maximum attention. We started with low tyre pressure to avoid any problems on the sand, and in the stony dry river we slowed down as a precaution. In general, it has been a good day and we should feel satisfied”, summed up the driver from Oliana.
Isidre Esteve is very clear about his initial approach to the 41st Dakar Rally: "As we anticipated, there are 30 or 35 cars that are mechanically faster than us, so we must stay calm and manage the race well, without losing our nerve. Little by little, the race will be decided and we will find our place".
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dakar 2019 will be significantly more difficult with the second stage between Pisco and San Juan de Marcona. Drivers must complete 553 kilometres, 342 of which will be against the clock, with navigation taking centre stage.
"The stage will be complicated and there will surely be some surprises because everyone goes fast during these first few days. I think that until Arequipa the terrain will be very similar to this first special, so we will have to remain concentrated from the beginning to the end".