Pilot Eduard Nikolaev (RIA No
vosti / Ruslan Krivobok)The leader of the Kamaz-Master truck team, Eduard Nikolaev, came in fifth in Stage 1 of the Dakar rally, which kicked off in the Peruvian capital Lima on January 5.The 13-kilometer prologue was won by Gerard de Rooy of the Netherlands, who clocked in at 26 minutes and 18 seconds. He was followed by fellow Dutchman and Iveco teammate Hans Stacey, and then Tatra driver Ales Loprais of the Czech Republic. Nikolaev came in fifth, 1 minute and 42 seconds behind the leaders, with the real action still to come at Dakar.“It was a very interesting day, but it was also very challenging, with large dunes,” the Russian told the rally’s official website. “We attacked from the get-go and at the end it was a good day. Most importantly, it was really nice to see those crowds on the dunes. We feel that the Peruvians appreciate us and that they were looking forward to seeing us drive along. It was really incredible.”Carlos Sainz, 2010’s Dakar champion, took first in the Car A category, with Russia’s Leonid Novitsky coming seventh. The 43rd annual Dakar rally will consist of 14 stages spanning tracks in the Latin American countries of Peru, Argentina and Chile.