The first full special stage tested the drivers and their cars with a challenging course that featured approximately 70 kilometres of tight and twisty sections before the landscape opened out to allow higher speeds. The hard and slick Spanish course included plenty of elevation changes, encroaching vegetation and some tricky gravel sections where grip proved unpredictable. With traction varying throughout the course, the competitors had to maintain razor sharp focus from start to finish.
Competing in the highly competitive FIA T3 class, Eric de Seynes and co-driver Camelia Liparoti started the first special stage strongly, attributing their pace to the confidence-inspiring chassis of the Yamaha YXZ1000R prototype. After catching and passing some of their closest rivals in the technical sections at the start, it was a case of holding off those same opponents in the second half of the stage, where the gearing wasn't optimal for the faster, more open sections.
After finishing 12th in the prologue stage yesterday, ‘The Breyner Brothers’ Manuel and Pedro made incredible progress throughout the 177-kilometre opening stage. The Franco Sport duo showed great form in their YXZ1000R and are expected to finish inside the top-10 inside the Open SSV category, although the Official Results for this particular class are yet to be confirmed.
After taking the spotlight with the fastest time during the opening prologue yesterday, experienced YXZ1000R European Cup competitors Mario Franco and co-driver Nuno Guilherme suffered a technical issue one hour into the opening stage today and had to return to the bivouac.
The next stage of the Andalucía Rally will take place tomorrow, Friday 14th May, and is set to be the lengthiest of the whole rally. It will feature as the second stage and will consist of 339 kilometers of timed special.