Dakar Rally debutante Sebastien Loeb took the lead after winning the first proper stage of the rally in his Peugeot 2008 DKR.

Loeb’s performance wasn’t altogether surprising as he was on familiar ground, the 510km run from Villa Carlos Paz to Termas Rio Hondo using roads similar to those on Rally Argentina, an event he won eight times during his World Rally Championship career. Equally, there were no real navigation challenges to tax co-driver Daniel Elena, also a Dakar rookie.

Stephane Peterhansel was second in his Peugeot, 2:23s adrift. Toyota’s Giniel de Villiers put in a typically measured drive to finish third, three minutes in arrears.

Loeb’s old WRC sparring partner Mikko Hirvonen impressed with fourth, leading the X-Raid Mini charge. Pre-event favourite Nasser Al-Attiyah could only manage ninth in his Mini, after being delayed with a puncture. Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz was furious after his Peugeot suffered an unidentified engine issue, which relegated him to 14th.

British interest centres on Harry Hunt – thought to be the driver in those Tax The Rich films on Youtube – who was a fine 17th in his Mini on his first proper Dakar stage.

Elsewhere, young Aussie Toby Price leads the bike category after winning the stage on his KTM; Ignacio Casale hold a four minute advantage at the top of the quad standings and MAN man Hans Stacey has a slim lead in the trucks.

Stage 2 top ten finishers

  1. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — 3:45:46
  2. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +2:23
  3. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +3:01
  4. Mikko Hirvonen/Michel Perin — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +3:05
  5. Leeroy Poulter/Robert Howie — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +3:20
  6. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov — G-Energy Team/Toyota Hilux — +3:38
  7. Cyril Despres/David Castera — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +5:00
  8. Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul — Overdrive Toyota/Toyota Hilux — +5:02
  9. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +5:18
  10. Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek — Overdrive Toyota/Toyota Hilux — +5:25

Overall top ten after 2 stages

  1. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — 3:52:03
  2. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +2:23
  3. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +3:01
  4. Mikko Hirvonen/Michel Perin — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +3:03
  5. Leeroy Poulter/Robert Howie — Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa/Toyota Hilux — +3:40
  6. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov — G-Energy Team/Toyota Hilux — +3:42
  7. Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul — Overdrive Toyota/Toyota Hilux — +4:53
  8. Cyril Despres/David Castera — Team Peugeot Total/Peugeot 2008 DKR — +5:00
  9. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel — Axion X-Raid Team/Mini ALL4 Racing — +5:14
  10. Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek — Overdrive Toyota/Toyota Hilux — +5:29

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By Only Motors