The administrative and technical formalities have now been completed and the thrills of the 2015 Dakar has officially begun for the Australian Isuzu Motorsports team.
The day after a spectacular ceremonial start in the heart of Buenos Aires, the Dakar proper commenced. On Stage 1 competitors travelled from the start line in Buenos Aires, deep into the Argentinian countryside to finish in picturesque Villa Carlos Paz.
Isuzu Motorsports driver Adrian Di Lallo anticipated a tough a day, and one was delivered.
"What made the day tough was the start order - starting toward the back of the pack made it difficult because the hanging dust was thick which impaired visibility for overtaking," Di Lallo said.
"Still, we made up a few places and I'm happy with how we went."
Di Lallo with co-driver Harry Suzuki started the day in position 105, and finished the day in 79th position overall.
"Harry did an amazing job in the co-driver's seat and we had a lot of fun," Di Lallo said.
"The car handled the rough and dusty conditions without fault.
"It's only day one and we need to keep the car in good condition - we've got thirteen days ahead of us.
"We are keeping calm and staying focussed, ready for tomorrow's monster stage."
Of the 406 vehicles that made it to the start line, 402 crossed it to complete the first 833 of the 9,111 kilometres they need tackle over the next two weeks - reiterating that this is an event of extreme endurance.
Di Lallo and Suzuki are competing in the ‘International T2’ production class, meaning their Isuzu MU-X is tackling the gruelling conditions as a stock, showroom spec vehicle, with only minor and safety modifications.
Tomorrow, the longest special stage in the 2015 Dakar route awaits competitors, with organisers warning that constant vigilance will be needed to conquer 518 competitive kilometres of hard, dusty and then sandy terrain. The Stage 2 bivouac will be set up in the lush valley city of San Juan, Argentina.
Dakar is known as one of the most challenging endurance rallies in the world. The 2015 event has attracted 665 competitors from 53 different nationalities in 414 vehicles. The rally spans over two weeks, following a loop course format, which sees competitors depart from Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 4, passing through Chile and Bolivia, before finishing in Buenos Aires on January 17, 2015.
Current overall standings:
1. Terranova (ARG) / Graue (ARG), Mini, 01:13:12
23. Olhom (AUS) / Boulanger (FRA), Toyota, 01:18:46
64: Jerie (AUS) / Lichtleuchter (FRA), Toyota, 01:39:03
79: Di Lallo (AUS) / Suzuki (AUS), Isuzu MU-X, 01:42:14
For live online results, visit Dakar.com or click here