The first stage of the Dakar 2012 is complete with The Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain and their five-man team placing a best sixth place for the day (by Joan Barreda). The team was riding cautiously and avoiding any unnecessary risks during this stage because of the sometimes dangerous conditions. The first stage consisted of a special test which proved to be fast, dusty and littered with holes. The time differences after 35 miles are small and saw the 28-year-old Spaniard come from 23th position early on.
Teammate Paulo Goncalves rode defensively and said, “I wanted to avoid any risk and rather warm myself up for the following days.” This approach was also taken by Zé Hélio, Ike Klaumann and Jose Manuel Pellicer, who all completed the inaugural stage not far behind the leaders.
Tomorrow marks the first real endurance test. The riders have to cover a distance of almost 500 miles (with a special stage alone of 183 miles). The course is expected to be fast at first, then leading through the dunes of El Nihuil and a spectacular volcano area.
The Dakar 2012 consists of 14 stages and is held over 5,214 miles (8,391 km). The route leads from the Argentinian coast across the Andes through Chile all the way to Peru’s capital of Lima. This year Speedbrain is fully backed by Husqvarna Motorcycles (a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMW Motorrad) and will field four Husqvarna TE 449 RR models, all newly developed by Speedbrain. Four riders with varying levels of experience, ranging from Dakar veterans to first timers, will represent Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain in the ultimate motorcycling test: the Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves, Spain’s Joan Barreda, and Jose Helio Goncalves Rodrigues Filho — the latter also known as ‘Zé Hélio’ — and his Brazilian compatriot Ike Klaumann.
Stage wins and an overall podium are the targets for the team at the Dakar 2012.
Dakar 2012, Stage 1
1. Francisco Lopez (CHI) Aprilia
2. Marc Coma (SPA) KTM, 0:14 min behind
3. Javier Pizzolito (ARG) Honda, 0:27
6. Joan Barreda (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 0:57
16. Paulo Goncalves (POR) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 1:57
28. Zé Hélio (BRA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 3:32
33. Ike Klaumann (BRA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 4:56
37. Jose Manuel Pellicer (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 5:29