Portuguese rider Ruben Faria won the first true day of competition of the 2011 Dakar. The factory Redbull KTM man, riding as Cyril Despres team-mate and water carrier, won the stage which included a 482KM of liaison and a timed 222km special stage.
2010 Dakar winner Despres finished the day in second position with long time rival and former Dakar winner, Marc Coma in third. Coma’s team-mate Juan Pedero Garcia secured fourth with the first non KTM rider Paolo Goncalves onboard his BMW in fifth.
Faria who started the day in 11th position said: “It’s been a good day. There were about 20KM on the stage where it was like a motorcross track, I felt good and I was really flying. I was able to pick my way through to the front and it’s a satisfying result because I won the last stage of last years Dakar and I’ve won the first true stage of this years race.
“It’s my job to help Cyril (Despres) during the event, but I’m happy and proud to have won the stage.”
It was a good day for the Brits with Yamaha mounted Craig Bounds securing an impressive 33rd place with Jenifer Morgan in 115th from 162 finishers.
BMW rider Simon Pavey also had a solid first day finishing in 54th place.