Reigning Dakar Champion Ricky Brabec lost 18 minutes to leader Toby Price on the first Dakar stage as he tried to manage his tyres on the rocky terrain.
Brabec was fastest in the prologue which put him first on the stage but some difficulty in navigation put him on the back foot.
“The roadbook never made complete sense. We did a good prologue and, after a good prologue, a stage like this is almost impossible to do. It’s a difficult day,” said Brabec.
“We won the prologue, but unfortunately, it hit us hard. We opened today and it wasn’t really as easy as we were expecting.
“The other guys started back and they dealt their cards a little bit better than we did. We didn’t really sit back in the prologue which led us up to the front. Stage one was difficult to navigate. It wasn’t fast. There were tons of rocks and slower speeds.
“I was trying to manage the rear tyre as we have to go more than one day on this tyre. I wasn’t sure of the speed and some of the other guys were on the gas a little bit harder. Hopefully in the end it’ll all pay off but, as of now, it’s only the first day and we have eleven left.
“Tomorrow we’ll start a bit further back with sand dunes and sand piste. Hopefully we can push up and make some time back.”