Qatar's al-Attiyah wins first stage of Dakar rally

Pisco (Peru) (AFP) –


Double former champion Qatar's Nasser al-Attiyah won the opening stage of the Dakar Rally between Lima and Pisco on Monday to lead the race in Peru.

Al-Attiyah, the winner in 2011 and 2015 is a minute and 59 seconds ahead of Spain's Carlos Sainz in second place, with Poland's Jakub Przygonski a second further behind in third spot after a day of racing on desert tracks.

"It's always nice to win and I'm very happy with the car," he said of his high-wheeled, beefed up Toyota. "It' better than last year's model."

Stephane Peterhansel, a thirteen-time Dakar winner is seventh at the 41st edition of the race, which has ten stages this year.

Former World Rally Championship winner Sebastien Loeb is in 13th position and is making his third appearance.

On the motorbike Spain's Joan Barreda leads a minute and 34 seconds in front of Chile's Pablo Quintanilla.

The second of ten stages takes place on Tuesday, 553km between Pisco and San Juan de Marcona.