Racing for the new South Racing Can-Am Team, the Brazilian duo of Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin put first stage delays firmly behind them to set the fastest time in the new SxS category of the 2018 Dakar Rally on the demanding 267km special stage that looped through the deserts and sand dunes, near Pisco, in Perú on Sunday.
Varela lost over 30 minutes stuck in the dunes on the opening stage but the experienced Brazilian delivered an impressive performance in the new South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 on the second special. He controlled the pace in the category from the outset and a stage time of 04:18:44 enabled the Brazilian to climb from an overnight eighth to second overall in the SxS category.
Peruvian debutant Juan Carlos Uribe is taking part in the event with navigator Javier Uribe Godoy. They were classified sixth and first of the Can-Ams through day one and reached the night halt in Pisco leading the SxS section after clocking the second fastest time to make it a Can-Am 1-2 finish on the day. Stage winner Varela finished 8:59 minutes in front of the Peruvian and now trails by 12:08 mins in the overall standings.
Leonel Larrauri and Fernando Imperatrice suffered delays on the short opening stage on Saturday after rolling their Maverick X3 nose-over-tail. They slipped to 10th place, but the Argentinean duo were back in a better pace on day two around Pisco after the car had been repaired overnight. They suffered delays early in the stage but remained on track to reach the stage finish in Pisco on Sunday evening.
"I guess it’s been a tale of two days for us so far," said South Racing Managing Director Scott Abraham. "Reinaldo got stuck in the dunes yesterday and lost time, but today he controlled the stage and didn’t take any risks. Leonel had some slight delays today at WP2 but continued on a good pace after that. It’s been a positive day today and we have proved that the Can-Am Maverick X3s can fight for the overall win with the best vehicles in the UTV category. Reinaldo and Juan-Carlos gave us a 1-2 finish today and that has given us first and second overall. We will continue to push forward. It’s a long race and we still have 12 stages to go."
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