On Friday in Saudi Arabia, the athletes could finally feel the true spirit of the race - they had to overcome more than a hundred kilometers of liaison and a 27 km prologue. It is true that the results here will only determine the starting positions on Saturday, so no one was in a hurry to show their fastest pace yet.
Having successfully completed the first sporting task of this Dakar rally, CFMOTO Thunder Racing Team rider Antanas Kanopkinas said that everything was as expected: "The prologue was completed, the track was not very difficult. The only thing that could have misled us was the ruts in the sand made by the local spectators, which were very numerous and in various directions, but we did not deviate from the road book.
During those kilometers, I once again made sure that where we did not have speed, it did not appear there. It is very difficult for us in the sand, and we will have to drive very carefully over the stones, saving the tires. This Dakar is not about the result, it's about reaching the finish line, but that's what we're here for. The mood is good and we are looking forward to tomorrow."
The athlete said that during the morning ride to the start, he already managed to feel cold, and before leaving for the prologue, he had to warm up at the exhaust of the quad. This situation should change in the coming days, as the Dakar caravan will turn south towards the legendary Empty Quarter.
In the prologue, A. Kanopkinas was almost eight minutes behind the leader, Argentinian F. Moreno Flores, and recorded the ninth time, but so far this does not affect the overall result of the Dakar Rally, and often does not reflect the athletes' real speed.
On Saturday, over 500 kilometers await the participants, of which even 414 will be a speed section. The organizers promise that this will be one of the most difficult stages, sifting the participants according to their preparation for this challenge.