The 2024 Dakar Rally has begun, after a 27-kilometer prologue it’s started for Tim and Tom Coronel. A small navigation error cost them about two minutes, but it also meant that they have to start a little further back than they had actually hoped. Otherwise, the stage went fine and Tim and Tom had everything under control.
After about 22 kilometers, Tom overlooked a note. “We were supposed to turn sharp left right after a waypoint, but so I didn’t see it in the roadbook. I told Tim we had to go straight on for a kilometer and there I said something was wrong. So we figured it out pretty quickly, but it’s a shame on such a short stage. We lost, I think, a good two minutes with that. That’s not important for the standings, but it is important for tomorrow’s starting position.”
This is because the result of the prologue does not count for the classification in the Dakar Rally, but only determines the starting order of the first stage. Otherwise, Tom was satisfied. “The car didn’t budge and felt very good. The tire management, driving and everything mechanically we were just full in control.”
“Sorry,” Tim began after the prologue. “A mistake, we should have been a little sharper. It was a nice stage, very cool. Nice start with the sand and it was really loose. We had a good pace and everything was going super until kilometer 22, so there we had to backtrack a bit, it is what it is. If that’s the Dakar for this year, let’s get it over with.”
Tomorrow is the first real stage on the program, which goes from Al Ula to Al Henakiyah. It will be a long day with 127 kilometers of liaison and 414 kilometers at speed. The stage immediately sets the tone for the rally, passing through an area where the Dakar has not been before. The route winds past volcanoes through a palette of every shade of gray.