This morning, the 449 participating vehicles in this year’s Dakar Rally left Lima accompanied by great fanfare, and the celebration continued as Peruvian quad driver Ignacio Flores won the first stage of the event.
Flores won the brief, 13-kilometer opening stage, completing the circuit over the dunes of Pisco in just nine minutes and 22 seconds. Chile’s Francisco Lopez won in the motorbike category, Spaniard Carlos Sainz came in first among the autos, and the Netherland’s Gerard De Rooy won the stage in the truck category.
Before beginning the special stage in the desert, all of the vehicles traveled from Agua Dulce beach in Lima to the starting point in Pisco. Along the way, thousands of people gathered to take photos of the vehicles and cheer on the competitors. Spectators were also treated to an aerial display by stunt planes.
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Participants and spectators along the Costa Verde (Lino Chipana/El Comercio)
Flores was one of Peru’s most promising performers in last year’s Dakar Rally, until an accident forced him out of the competition. His victory today marks the first time ever that a Peruvian has won a stage in the event.
Thousands watched as the participants left Lima for the first stage of the rally.