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Al-Attiyah, Sunderland stake early leads in Stage 1 of Dakar Rally

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Editor’s note: Don’t miss NBCSN’s first report from Dakar on Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. ET.

The 40th annual Dakar Rally – and its 10th consecutive year in South America – opened Saturday with lots of action in Stage 1.

Most importantly, rain – which was a constant hindrance in last year’s Rally, including washing out one full stage and drastically shortening another – was nowhere in sight.

The 31-kilometer (19.26 miles) inaugural sprint kicked off the 14-stage, two-week event in the morning starting in Lima, Peru and ending in nearby Pisco, Peru.

For the second straight year, Robby Gordon – a perennial Rally fan favorite – is not entered.

In fact, there are only six U.S. competitors in the 523 “adventurer’s” field: One entrant in Cars (Bryce Menzies) and five in Motorcycles (Ricky Brabec, Andrew Short, Mark Samuels, Bill Conger, and Shane Esposito).

MORE: Dakar Rally kicks off today, marks 40th year overall and 10th year in South America.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, all competitors

Here’s results and highlights from Saturday’s Stage 1:

CARS

In the marquee Cars class, Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah – a two-time Rally winner – took his Toyota to the No. 1 spot in a time of 21 minutes, 51 seconds.

Second through fifth were:

  • Holland’s Bernhard ten Brinke, Toyota, 22:16
  • Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs, Borgward, 22:25
  • U.S.’s Bryce Menzies (co-driver Peter Mortensen), Mini, 22:29
  • Spain’s Nani Roma, Mini, 22:44

MOTORCYCLES

Defending champion Sam Sunderland of Britain (although he now lives in Dubai) had an outstanding first Stage, clocking in at 20:55 to grab the early lead in the class.

Second through fifth were:

  • France’s Adrien van Beveren, Yamaha, 21:28
  • Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna, 21:51
  • Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort, Honda, 21:52
  • France’s Xavier De Soultrait, Yamaha, 22:02

Also, here’s the position and times of the five U.S. riders in the class:

  • 11th: Ricky Brabec, Honda, 23:42
  • 27th: Andrew Short, Husqvarna, 25:46
  • 35th: Mark Samuels, Honda, 27:01
  • 93rd: Bill Conger, Husqvarna, 43:32
  • 125th: Shane Esposito, KTM, 2.39:54

QUADS

  • 1. Chile’s Ignacio Casale, Yamaha, 27:32
  • 2. Russia’s Sergei Kariakin, Yamaha, 28:32
  • 3. Argentina’s Pablo Copetti, Yamaha, 30:31
  • 4. Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso, Yamaha, 30:40
  • 5. Poland’s Rafal Sonik, Yamaha, 31:33

SxS UTV

  • 1. Peru’s Anibal Aliaga, Polaris, 31:27
  • 2. Spain’s Jose Pena Campo, Polaris, 34:28
  • 3. France’s Claudio Fournier, Polaris, 34:50
  • 4. Portugal’s Pedro De Mello Breyner, Yamaha, 35:10
  • 5. Italy’s Camelia Liparoti, Yamaha, 35:13]

TRUCK

  • 1. Czech Republic’s Ales Loprais, Tatra, 25:15
  • 2. Netherland’s Martin Van den Brink, Renault, 25:37
  • 3. Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev, Kamaz, 25:44
  • 4. Netherland’s Ton van Genugten, Iveco, 26:26
  • 5. Russia’s Anton Shibalov, Kamaz, 26:33

NOTES:

  • The first crash of the day involved Lebanese drivers Jad Comair and Antoine Iskandar’s BMW, which rolled over in the sand dunes area of the course. Both drivers were uninjured.
  • The first contestant eliminated was Portuguese motorcycle rider Joaquim Rodrigues, who was participating in his first Dakar Rally. Rodrigues managed to get just a few hundred meters from the starting line before he was involved in a spectacular crash that sent him to a local hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.
  • Saturday’s opening stage was easy in comparison to what’s coming up. Sunday’s Stage 2 will be a circuitous 279 kilometer (173.3 miles) route that begins and ends in Pisco, Peru.

Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

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“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

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Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

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Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

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