The return of the GasGas Rally Team to the Dakar is now a reality thanks to Torrot. Jonathan Barragan, Cristian España and Johnny Aubert have completed the 242km liaison stage and a rapid sprint of 31km that made up today's special, riding on Peruvian terrain from Lima to Pisco. Barragán finished the timed section with a time of 24:40, Cristian España, with 24:50 and Johnny Aubert, with 27:11. These times have placed them in positions 18, 20 and 36 respectively in the general classification.
"Today has been a positive day because we completed the first stage and our riders have got through it correctly, without taking excessive risks. Although there were only a few kilometres of special, the dunes were quite difficult, because the sand is very soft and there have been alternate sections of very fast off-road with some steep dunes in the stage. This is what has been causing the first problems, but our riders overcame them, thanks to some highly skilled riding that got them over the dunes without too much trouble.
Tomorrow we expect a harder stage than today, much longer and with even more extreme conditions. The sand will be soft again and it will be very hot and, above all, the cars start before the bikes, so our bikes will find their tracks and ruts."
"Today's stage has been quite short, but it went very well for me. Tomorrow I will get a much better start, since today I came from way back and I had to overtake quite a few riders. Our starting position is good, in the top twenty, so I hope to be able to keep up with their pace. The Dakar has just started and we still have many hard stages, we have to go day by day, because we still have a lot of racing ahead of us. "
"The first stage has not been easy. I got off to a good start, but at kilometre 4 I made a mistake, I missed a waypoint and I had to go back to find it. Later I didn't managed to find my position with the trip, but anyway it was a good first stage. It is not the best result, but losing 6 minutes, in a race like the Dakar is not much. My teammates rode very well and there have been no falls, which is also important to finish each day without damaging the bike. First stage, finished, and tomorrow a long day awaits us. "
"It was a short but intense first special, where we had a lot to lose and little to gain. We went out to do what we know how to do in a stage that was 100% dune and off-road. I have been very comfortable on the bike, it goes like the clappers and at the same time feels safe, which is reflected in the result. We finished in the top 20. I'm happy because of our fast pace. We cannot relax and have to continue in this way. Tomorrow the cars leave before us and that will complicate the surface a bit, because it will be more broken and with ruts everywhere, and that will also influence the navigation. We are looking forward to the second stage and to continue giving it a fistful of GasGas"