“I thought we had an advantage with our hybrid car. But that is not the case. We have less power and are heavier than the other cars,” Sainz complained afterwards.
Bernhard ten Brinke finished twelfth in the cars, together with Frenchman Sébastien Delaunay.
Australian Daniel Sanders (KTM) was fastest on the bikes, ahead of Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) and Ross Branch (Yamaha). Defending champion Kevin Benavides (KTM) finished fourth. Wiljan van Wikselaar was the best Dutchman.
“I was very nervous this morning at first, but I am happy that we have now completed the first 19 kilometers,” said debutant Wikselaar. “The engine feels good. I had a small moment where I fell, actually that was also due to another driver. You should also pay attention to that, so that was my own fault. I am really looking forward to it now and I am happy that the first meters have been made.”
In the quads, the victory went to Manuel Andujar from Argentina.
The first stage was given a coefficient of five, which means that the real time is multiplied by five. The top 15 may choose their starting position for Sunday.
The Dakar Rally lasts two weeks.