|Desafío Inca: The Peru Desafío Inca kicks off with a great show in Ica|
The Desafío Inca started with a bang yesterday, as the drivers and riders tackled two specials totalling 308 kilometers on the breathtaking dunes of Ica. Pablo Quintanilla (motorcycles), Ignacio Casale (quads) and Guilherme Spinelli (cars) were the big winners of the stage.
The motorcycle category, one of most anticipated, saw Chile's Pablo Quintanilla (KTM 450 Rally Réplica) draw first blood in the inaugural stage of the Desafío Inca. With a time of 03:43:59, the southern motocross specialist prevailed in both of today's specials, followed by Bolivia's Juan Carlos Salvatierra (+4:53) and local boy Eduardo "Tato" Heinrich (+7:58).
Quintanilla surprised everyone in a positive way when he topped the ranking at the end of the gruelling first circuit, leaving Heinrich and Salvatierra to fight for second place, with the Bolivian rider gaining the upper hand. Cyril Despres and David Casteu managed to climb a few places at the end of the stage, finishing sixth and fourth, respectively.
Chile's Ignacio Casale (Yamaha Raptor 700) opened the largest gap of the day after setting a blistering pace from the get-go. His finishing time of 04:02:26 put him no less than 25 minutes ahead of his closest opponent, Sebastián Halpern, with Peru's Ignacio Flores in third.
Casale's commanding lead at the end of the first special allowed him to relax during the second loop. Daniel Mazzuco and Lucas Bonetto managed to get into the top 5, but they will have their work cut out for them if they want to claw back some time in today’s stage.
The Brazilian driver Spinelli came to Paracas as one of the favourites to win the race and today he confirmed that status. Guilherme Spinelli (Mitsubishi ASX Racing) posted a finishing time of 04:37:44 enough to propel him to the overall lead in the car classification with a 14:51 minutes margin over the Peruvian Alta Ruta 4x4 team, consisting of Francisco León and Tomás Hiraoka.
Spinelli also stamped his authority on yesterday's two specials, in the race that marks the dawn of the Dakar Series' Peruvian adventure. Guilherme was able to double the lead he had opened up in the first loop, giving him some breathing space ahead of the second stage. The Brazilian team look poised to continue their great race.
Pablo Quintanilla (motorcycles): "It was a great stage. We had to be constantly on the lookout because dunes require a great focus, but I was totally relaxed. I'm happy I made it to the end. I'm in tip-top shape and the bike didn't miss a beat."
Ignacio Casale (quads): "It was a nice stage. I was the first to start, so I put the pedal to the metal thinking they were right on my heels. I went really fast, which is why I got a big gap. I must say I was quite inspired. There are still two days to go and I must treat the quad well."
Guilherme Spinelli (cars): "We hadn't raced on dunes since April, and it's quite satisfying to win a stage on this terrain. We're delighted, our navigation was perfect."
Cyril Despres (motorcycles): "I had to open the course and navigate, which made it easier for others to follow me. I had some trouble with fog at the beginning. I couldn't see a thing, but tomorrow's another day. My bike went well."
2013/10/06 | 02:53 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/ASO