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DAKAR: Day 1 - Al-Attiyah opens new era.

BMW's Nasser Al-Attiyah kicked off the 2009 Dakar Rally with a comfortable victory on the first stage, although both Volkswagen and Mitsubishi are poised the strike just behind.

The Qatari driver scored the second Dakar stage win of his career by coming through the 371km exchange between the Argentine capital Buenos Aires and Santa Rosa de la Pampa in a time of 2hrs 36.15mins.

Marking an impressive start for the heavily revised BMW X3 C-C, the stage wasn't a complete success for the manufacturer after Al-Attiyah's team-mate Guerlain Chicherit rolled out of contention having been amongst the fastest at the time splits. He is already seven hours down.

In the much anticipated battle between Volkswagen and Mitsubishi, it was the former that drew first blood on stage one as they annexed positions two to four, with Carlos Sainz leading the way, just over two minutes behind Al-Attiyah.

Giniel De Villiers and Mark Miller followed closely, ahead of the leading Mitsubishi representative Luc Alphand, who will be pleased to be less than five minutes off the pace driving the new Lancer. Team-mates Stephane Peterhansel is sixth and Nani Roma is eighth, although Hirochi Masuoka had to be towed to the finish and is now five hours adrift.

Elsewhere in the top ten, BMW were further represented by home favourite Oscar Terranova in seventh and Peter Van Merksteijn in tenth, while Pole Krzysztof Holowczyc was ninth in the Nissan.


Argentina-Chile Dakar 2009 - Positions on SS1:

1. Nasser Al-Attiyah BMW X3 CC02hrs 36m 15s
2. Carlos Sainz Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 02m 17s
3. Giniel de Villiers Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 02m 40s
4. Mark Miller Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 04m 21s
5. Luc Alphand Mitsubishi Racing Lancer +0hrs 04m 44s
6. Stephane Peterhansel Mitsubishi Racing Lancer +0hrs 04m 54s

Argentina-Chile Dakar 2009 - Positions after SS1:

1. Nasser Al-Attiyah BMW X3 CC02hrs 36m 15s
2. Carlos Sainz Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 02m 17s
3. Giniel de Villiers Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 02m 40s
4. Mark Miller Volkswagen Touareg +0hrs 04m 21s
5. Luc Alphand Mitsubishi Racing Lancer +0hrs 04m 44s
6. Stephane Peterhansel Mitsubishi Racing Lancer +0hrs 04m 54s


Related Pictures

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Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Subaru Impreza [Production Car WRC]. Uddeholm Swedish Rally, February 7-10th 2008.
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