Dakar: Good start for Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi on Day 1
LIMA, (Peru): Abu Dhabi Racing driver and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge winner, Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal Al Qassimi had a balanced start to his 2018 Dakar Rally campaign, but a lost waypoint cost him about two minutes.
The Abu Dhabi Racing driver nevertheless is now looking forward to day two which will herald the start of the long stages where he will follow a specific strategy in his quest to climb up the overall standings aboard the Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi with co-driver Xavier Panseri.
Navigators are having a bit of a difficult time with new regulations in place. Unlike in the past, drivers are now not allowed to carry maps in any form (paper, electronic or any other type of support) so crews must therefore rely solely on the roadbook and the GPS system provided by the organisers.
Despite this, Sheikh Khalid started his Dakar quest on a positive note and is looking forward to the days ahead of this long campaign.
Sheikh Khalid said: “We started on a balanced speed. There were a lot of tracks as the bikes started before the cars so there were a lot of tracks.
“As a result I missed a waypoint and so I had to circle to get back on track which cost us some precious time. But after this we had good momentum.
“It was a short day, just about 31km of special stage and now I am looking forward to the longer stages that lie ahead of us on this epic rally.”
Day two will see the start of the longer stages The Pisco loop stage is 90% off-piste.
This exercise in navigation offers the car drivers the privilege of setting off before everyone else… and that means no bike tracks to follow.
The risk of bogging is reduced by the relatively cool morning temperatures, but the canyons of the first 40 kilometres of special stage will not make for an easy ride, nor will the series of dunes that follows.
The anniversary edition will run through three countries in South America – Peru, Bolivia and Argentina – and the Abu Dhabi Racing driver is aiming for a good result at the end of the annual event that attracts some of the biggest names from across the globe.
The 40th edition of the Dakar Rally will take place on the South American continent for the tenth time with drivers getting the opportunity to re-acquaint themselves with the Pacific Ocean and the Peruvian dunes, which the riders and drivers will tackle after having enjoyed several days in the Peruvian capital of Lima.