The 2016 Australian Rally Champion and co-driver Dale Moscatt were sixth-quickest in the SSV class on Stage 1A, the prologue, but dropped to 12th overall after the first stage proper.
“It was a really long day; a good taste of what we're in for in Dakar, I think,” she said on her social media.
“Quite a tricky navigation stage; unfortunately, we got lost a few times, for quite a while, so dropped a bunch of time.
“Then [we] had a small technical issue leaving the neutralisation zone and couldn't get above about 30kph and had to stop and reset the car and try a few different things. But anyway, we got going again.
“Everything's all going well; just having our initiation of Dakar and frustrating to end up not being where we want to be in the classification, but learning a lot.
“Day 1 [is] done, [and the] car's back in one piece.”
Stage 2 was to have been a Marathon stage, meaning no external assistance, including from mechanics at the overnight stop, but that rule has been dropped due to flooding in the Al Artawiyah bivouac and the route is being tweaked.
Australian Daniel Sanders will lead the entire field out this afternoon from Ha'il after riding his GasGas motorcycle to victory in both Stages 1A and 1B.