After an unusual scrutineering and podium start, the Dakar 2021 officially began today with a short, 10-kilometer prologue stage out of Jeddah. 286 vehicles lined up at the start today: 101 motorcycles, 16 quads, and 64 cars as well as 44 trucks and 61 SSVS left the King Abdullah Stadium to battle out the starting positions for tomorrow.

Last year’s Dakar winner Ricky Brabec won the stage coming in six seconds ahead, but the American says the real Dakar is yet to begin.

“I don’t know if it’s the best to win the prologue. I wasn’t really trying to go out and do that. It feels good to be back here in Saudi. The dirt was really good, it rained a couple of days ago here. The race isn’t over, it’s not even started yet. Tomorrow we’re going to go out there and enjoy and have fun,” Brabec said after beating teammate Joan Borreda by six seconds and rookie Daniel Sanders by thirteen.

Toby Price, the Dakar winner of 2019, came in ninth beaten by Pablo Quintanilla (8th overall); Dakar legend Laia Sanz came in 32nd today, going sure and steady as always.

The prologue stage is designed to let competitors flex their muscles and decide the starting numbers for Day 2 when the race really begins. Usually, opening up a stage is a tricky task for the fastest riders as there are no tracks to follow; however, tomorrow’s  277km special stage to Bisha, according to the organizers, is going to be mainly tracks rather than dunes, giving the prologue winner a fair chance to stay in the lead.

With the prologue over, the competitors are back at the Jeddah bivouac getting ready for the official start of the race tomorrow. Will Ricky Brabec stay ahead, and is he going to repeat his 2020 Dakar success? Stay tuned to find out!

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