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Rally-Raid Network - DAKAR-NEWS

Dakar 2023: Final stage - Second consecutive Dakar victory for Toyota Gazoo Racing

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  • 1st overall for Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel
  • 4th overall for Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy
  • 5th overall for Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings
  • 4 Toyota Hilux T1+ in Top 5

Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, successfully defended the Dakar title they won for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) in 2022, when they brought their GR DKR Hilux T1+ over the finish line of the final stage of Dakar 2023 on 15 January. The pair lost 5min 41sec to the stage winners, but that hardly mattered, as they sealed the overall victory with a winning margin of 1hr 20min 49sec.

The final stage of Dakar 2023 was a 136km-long test that started from the bivouac at Al-Hofuf. Competitors had to complete a short liaison of 167km before taking on Stage 14, which was then followed by a final liaison of 100km to the finish podium in the coastal city of Dammam.

For Nasser, this was his fifth win in the Dakar Rally, while Mathieu’s tally is now four victories. The pair have won three times for Toyota, with the latest victories coming in a back-to-back display of quality, durability and reliability for the Japanese manufacturer. The pair took over the lead of the event on Stage 2, and never relinquished that position.

Giniel de Villiers, who completed his twentieth consecutive Dakar Rally when he crossed the finish line near Dammam, ended the rally in 4th place in the overall standings. This result brings his total number of Top 5 finishes to 15, including one victory in 2009. The South African has only finished outside the Top 10 on one occasion, and his performance in the 2023 Dakar Rally underscores the toughness and tenacity of one of the Dakar Rally’s true veteran racers. Together with co-driver Dennis Murphy, Giniel finished this year’s 45th edition of the rally in fine style, posting a Top 10 time on the closing stage.

Dakar 2023 will long be remembered by Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings as a race that could have turned out very differently for them. They moved as high as 2nd place in the overall standings, before two setbacks pushed them down the order. The pair showed great pace throughout the rally, and will be hoping for a truer reflection of their speed in future editions. Even so, they finished in 5th place overall, less than 5min behind their teammates in fourth.

Toyota dominated the Dakar 2023 results, with the works TGR crews finishing 1st, 4th and 5th. A privately entered Toyota Hilux T1+ in the hands of the young Brazilian, Lucas Moraes, added to the Japanese manufacturer’s tally, by finishing in third place overall. This was Lucas’ first attempt at the Dakar Rally, though he had an experienced co-driver in the form of Timo Gottschalk beside him in the car.

Glyn Hall, TGR Dakar Team Principal: “What a day for our entire team! Winning Dakar is something memorable, but winning the world’s toughest race twice in a row is simply extraordinary. My sincere thanks to every member of our team, every one of our sponsors and, of course, our drivers and co-drivers, who delivered a stunning result. I’m really proud of our GR DKR Hilux T1+, which has proven yet again that it is reliable and durable enough to not only complete the world’s roughest automotive race, but to do so two years in a row.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “This in amazing feeling! I have to thank so many people, starting with every member of our team. It was a tough two weeks, but to be able to come back and defend our title is fantastic! I’m really proud of our Toyota Hilux T1+, and to win the race three times with Toyota is truly something special.”

Giniel de Villiers: “The Dakar is always full of challenges, and we certainly had our share of challenges this year. Of course, it could’ve been better for us, but then many competitors can probably say the same. It would have been nice to be on the podium, but overall, as a manufacturer, Toyota has every reason to be proud. I think this result has just proven the reliability of the Hilux once again, and we again managed to showcase this amazing car in Saudi Arabia this year.”

Henk Lategan: “Dakar 2023 has been a rollercoaster for us. It has been a tough two weeks for us, with some extremely good days; but also some disappointing ones. It does feel good to be in the Top 5 after such a tough Dakar, and I think they’ve thrown everything at us this year. With that in mind, it feels fantastic to be at the end of the race, and while we’ll always wonder what might have been, we are very happy to bring the car home in a good position.”

 

Source: Toyota South Africa / Toyota Gazoo Racing SA

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Dakar 2023: Final stage - Toyota's Al-Attiyah and Baumel win the 2023 Dakar Rally

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  • Brazilian Dakar rookie Lucas Moraes finishes third overall
  • Five Toyota Hiluxes finish inside the top seven in Dammam

Toyota Gazoo Racing and Overdrive Racing celebrated a superb 45th Dakar Rally with Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah claiming a fifth victory on the world’s toughest cross-country rally and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel sealing a fourth success.

The Qatari led the gruelling 14-stage event from the third selective section, controlled his pace to perfection and stayed clear of undue risks to reach the finish in Dammam with a 1hr 20min 49sec advantage over Frenchman Sébastien Loeb, his main rival in the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC). With runner-up Loeb collecting a series of stage wins during the final week, it sets up the prospect of a repeat duel for W2RC title honours during the course of the 2023 season.

The fifth Dakar success meant that Al-Attiyah became the second most successful car entrant in the history of the event behind eight-time winner Stéphane Peterhansel. Ari Vatanen had been tied with Al-Attiyah on four victories.

Al-Attiyah won three of the eight stages before the rest day in Riyadh and then went on the defensive to preserve his V6-engined Toyota Hilux T1+. The feat marked Toyota’s third victory in five years after Al-Attiyah’s successes with Baumel in 2019 and 2022.

The winner said: “It was a difficult Dakar for everyone. It's crazy to manage to defend my title. I'm very happy to win five times, and Mathieu four… Sorry, Mathieu! I respect Ari enormously, he's still my idol. I always want to win more and more, now I want to defend my world champion's title. We didn't have to attack like crazy. We managed to get through the second week and win the Dakar at the end, that's what really matters."

Brazil’s Lucas Moraes was taking part in the event for the first time and called upon the experience of former winner Timo Gottschalk as his co-driver. The impressive rookie belied his lack of experience in the dunes to finish in a stunning third overall in the first of the Overdrive Racing Toyotas.

Moraes also became the highest ever ranked Brazilian finisher. He said: "Really unbelievable. We finished Dakar and it will take some time to sink in. It was important for the rally community in Brazil because it had never happened before. I'm going to celebrate with all the Brazilian photographers. I don't have any other Dakar to compare, but I heard this one was very tough."

Al-Attiyah’s Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mates, Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy and Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings, also delivered consistent performances to reach the finish in fourth and fifth overall. Lategan had been running as high as second before delays with a broken damper in the second half of the event dropped him down the leader board. De Villiers, for his part, set a Dakar record for 20 finishes on the event across three continents.

Argentinean Juan-Cruz Yacopini teamed up with Spanish co-pilot Daniel Oliveras and guided their Overdrive Racing Toyota to the finish in a fine seventh overall. He said: “We are happy to be here. I am happy to be in the top 10 after such a tough Dakar.”

Former Dakar rider Isidre Esteve Pujol drove an Overdrive Racing-built Toyota Hilux under the Repsol Toyota Rally Team banner with fellow countryman José-Maria Villalobos. The Spaniard finished 34th.

Yazeed Al-Rajhi and German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz were running strongly in the top three during the first week until they suffered wheel hub issues and slipped back to 19th.

After the rest day, they stopped to assist Lategan, when the South African suffered his damper failure, and the Saudi sportingly gave parts of his Toyota’s suspension to his team-mate and suffered hefty time penalties as a result of having to wait for the assistance truck. The Riyadh driver fought back to finish 86th overall and had the consolation of outright victory on stage seven.

Paraguay’s Andrea Lafarja teamed up with Peruvian navigator Ashley Garcia Chavez in another Overdrive Racing Toyota and finished the event in 53rd overall.

Lionel Baud and French team-mate Remi Boulanger had been running as high as 10th overall during the first week, before slipping back to 13th at the rest day. Sadly, their Toyota suffered a fire just after the start of the ninth stage and damage sustained by the car was deemed too substantial for the crew to continue.

Overdrive Racing’s managing director Jean-Marc Fortin said: “This is an amazing moment. It is difficult to describe the feelings. We worked hard for this. It was a long and difficult race. I think David Castera and his team put down the challenge for us. Four months ago, I told Lucas (Moraes), maybe he should make another long rally. Now look, he finishes in third place, and a top 10 finish is very special for Juan Cruz. And we have five cars inside the top 10. This is very special.”

 

yazeed 15 1 w

Riyadh – Empty Quarter

After a day of car rebuilds and rest for the crews, action restarted last Tuesday with a stage of 359km between Riyadh and Haradh that included a treacherous river crossing that was made worse by recent heavy rain. Lategan dropped over 45 minutes with a broken rear damper after 17km and the South African’s woes enabled Loeb to move into third place behind Al-Attiyah and Moraes.

It would have been so much worse for the South African had Al-Rajhi not stopped to gift a damper to his team-mate, the sporting gesture meaning that it was Al-Rajhi who had to stop and wait for the assistance truck himself. Al-Attiyah finished the special in a cautious eighth but saw his lead grow to 1hr 21min 57sec with Lategan’s issues. Lategan and De Villiers reached Haradh in fourth and fifth overall and Yacopini remained in 10th.

Al-Attiyah said: “We are working day-by-day and today we did a really good job without any mistakes, without any problems. There was a lot of water.”

Moraes said: “The Dakar never stops surprising us. Right at the beginning we saw Carlos (Sainz) had rolled and we also saw Henk with some problems. We decided that we would just keep things cool. We were very patient today and let some cars go. We’re focused on the overall, that’s the big picture for us.”

Baud’s Toyota suffered a small fire after six kilometres of the stage and the Frenchman, like Al-Rajhi, incurred a fistful of time penalties waiting for his assistance truck. The team assessed the damage on the Hilux and the decision was taken that Baud would not continue.

The Frenchman said: “It’s over for us. The decision was made not to continue. The damage to the car was too big. We had some extraordinary days with Remi and our team and we leave this Dakar very disappointed. I thank the whole Overdrive team for all the moments we had together. We will continue to work to come back even stronger.”

The 10th stage of 114km between Haradh and the remote crude oil production hub of Shaybah took competitors into the vast Empty Quarter for the first time. The remote settlement that housed the bivouac was located 40km from the northern edge of the Rub Al-Khali and 10km from the border with neighbouring Abu Dhabi.

Fourth place on the 114km special was sufficient for Al-Attiyah to retain a lead of 1hr 21min 34sec, as Moraes, despite suffering from motion sickness, pushed hard to set the third fastest time in his quest to keep the stage-winning Loeb behind him in third place.

Al-Attiyah said: "The special was short but tough. We got to the Empty Quarter! It was a good day to test things for tomorrow, we know what we need. I'm pleased… I've got a good feeling with the car, we didn't make any mistakes… I didn't push too hard...

Al-Rajhi recovered well from the previous day’s massive delays to come home in fifth. Yacopini retained 10th overall.

Stage 11 marked the first half of the two-day Marathon without service assistance and looped through the towering dunes of the Empty Quarter for 275km close to the border frontiers with the UAE and the Sultanate of Oman. Competitors camped out under the stars after working on their cars.

Al-Attiyah maintained a lead of 1hr 21min 04sec with the fifth quickest time on a stage where Loeb whittled Moraes’s grip on second overall down to 9min 37sec. Lategan, De Villiers and Yacopini retained fourth, fifth and 10th overall. Al-Rajhi came home in seventh but was down in 94th overall.

Al-Attiyah said: “We did an amazing stage with no mistakes. We wanted to finish without problems, so we don’t work on the car all night. We need to accept this situation because we don’t want to attack for nothing. We still have too many hours to do. Today we just needed to finish.”

Moraes added: “One more, one less, as we say in Brazil. It was great to finish the first part of the Marathon stage. It was quite a tricky one with some climbs. Timo did amazingly well and another top three stage for us. Crossing dunes, this car held a lot, with the lower torque and the big wheels, that really helps.”

 

moraes 15 1 w

Empty Quarter – Damman

The 12th stage of 185km returned competitors from the bivouac in the Empty Quarter to another night halt in Shaybah. Al-Attiyah completed the test in a little under two hours and the third quickest time enabled the Qatari to retain a lead of 1hr 27min 10sec, although Moraes had relinquished second overall to the hard-charging Loeb.

Al-Attiyah said: “Ít’s good to finish two days of the Marathon with the car in one piece. For us, if we finish in the top five every day, it will be good for the championship.”

A roll and a resultant broken windscreen for Lategan saw his Toyota Gazoo Racing colleague De Villiers snatch fourth overall, while Yacopini held on to 10th overall and Al-Rajhi came home in eighth on the day.

The second quickest time on the penultimate 153km special, south of Shaybah, ensured that Al-Attiyah would take a lead of 1hr 21min 42sec into the final day. Moraes retained a solid third overall and Yacopini climbed ahead of three rivals to snatch seventh. Al-Rajhi finished the stage in sixth.

Al-Attiyah said: “It was an interesting stage with lots of dunes. We finished second and I am happy. For the championship, it was important because it earns us more points for the fight with Seb, who’s cranking out stage wins. Today, limited the difference to one point.”

The final stage of 138km ran close to the Arabian Gulf after a liaison of 167km from Al-Hofuf. A second link section of 100km then guided teams to the finish in Dammam. Al-Attiyah held his nerve, erred on the side of caution and the 11th quickest time was enough to confirm a fifth Dakar victory.

Moraes came home in third overall and Yacopini wrapped up a superb fortnight for Overdrive Racing with seventh place.

45th Dakar Rally – positions after SS14 (unofficial @ 15.50hrs):

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota GR DKR Hilux                         45hr 03min 15sec

2. Sébastien Loeb (FRA)/Fabian Lurquin (BEL) Prodrive Hunter BRX                                                       46hr 24min 04sec

3. Lucas Moraes (BRA)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive                                               46hr 41min 46sec*

4. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF)/Dennis Murphy (ZAF) Toyota GR DKR Hilux                                              47hr 34min 27sec *

5. Henk Lategan (ZAF)/Brett Cummings (ZAF) Toyota GR DKR Hilux                                              47hr 39min 38sec*

6. Martin Prokop (CZE)/Viktor Chytka (CZE) Ford Raptor RS Cross-Country                               48hr 43min 59sec

7. Juan Cruz Yacopini (ARG)/Daniel Oliveras (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive                     49hr 30min 24sec

8. Wei Han (CHN)/Ma Li (CHN) SMG HW 2021 Buggy                                                                  49hr 32min 36sec

9. Sebastien Halpern (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) Mini John Cooper Works Buggy                        49hr 45min 53sec

10. Guerlain Chicherit (FRA)/Alex Winocq (FRA) Prodrive Hunter BRX                                                       50hr 25min 25sec

34. Isidre Esteve Pujol (ESP)/José-Maria Villalobos (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive       55hr 42min 50sec*

53. Andrea Lafarja (PRY)/Ashley Garcia Chavez (PER) Toyota Hilux Overdrive                     60hr 53min 45sec*

86. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive                    81hr 55min 30sec

Lionel Baud (FRA)/Remi Boulanger (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive                                               RETIRED – SS9

* denotes not registered for W2RC

 

 

Source Overdrive Racing

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Dakar 2023: Mário Patrão wins the Veteran category and finishes 3rd place in the Original by Motul class

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Mário Patrão, driver supported by CRÉDITO AGRÍCOLA completed today his participation in the 45th edition of the Dakar, where he achieved a brilliant victory among the veterans and a magnificent third place among the competitors of the Original by Motul, the biggest challenge launched by the most important world cross-country competition to pilots of two wheels who venture to dispute it without external assistance.

Reinforcing the realization that this edition of the Dakar was particularly tough, the pilots encountered enormous difficulties on the track throughout the stage that linked Al-Hofuf to Dammam with a selective sector of 136 kilometers timed, which did not prevent the pilot supported by BAHCO from overcoming all difficulties.

"The course of this final stage had a lot of mud and a lot of water, because in the last few days there was a lot of rain. There was an area where several riders were buried by mud and I was too. The bike was so muddy that the wheels started to stick. I knew I had to force the engine to finish and I ended up burning the clutch. Then I had to be very careful, because when I accelerated the bike would skid. It was a demanding challenge and physically exhausting. I had to fight until the last second to get the victory that I worked so hard to achieve", explains the pilot supported by LUSIADAS SAÚDE, who adds:

"What was supposed to be a stage party consecration, was after all a lot of work, but I am happy with the victory and the podium "malle moto". I thank all those who supported me, and especially the sponsors who believed in me. I managed to get Portugal on the podium", said the World Cross Country Rallies Veterans Champion, a pilot supported by Seia City Hall, at the end of the race.

 

Automatic translation from the original Portuguese version available on www.todoterreno.pt
Source Mario Patrão official press release

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Dakar 2023: Final stage - Valtr set the third best time in the last stage

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The 45th edition of the Dakar Rally is history. Jaroslav Valtr was aiming for his maiden triumph on the final stage today, but a 2-minute penalty eventually relegated him to third. This time, all three Buggyra ZM Racing Tatras were in the top ten of today‘s stage.

Valtr set the third best time in the last stage of the Dakar, Macháček would like to do the Dakar all over again . Kazarka third in the Dakar Classic
Jaroslav Valtr treated the last stage as one long sprint. "Today's stage was very fast, we were always going full throttle. We didn't catch one waypoint at the beginning, so we let it go, kept going and tried to catch Martin Maciek. The Tatra is unbelievable. We drove on to these little grassy patches and bumps, but we drove full spead. and made up a lot of time in this section. It was a good day and it made up for the unfortunate day before yesterday," said the Tatra Phoenix pilot. "I'm happy to have finished the Dakar, that's the most important thing for me. I have a negative score so far, so I'm happy to be at the finish. I'm happy, I might even cry, so I try to control myself," added an emotional Tatra Buggyra ZM Racing team driver.

His team-mate Martin Šoltys was not hiding his joy at finishing the Dakar. This year's edition was definitely the hardest of all those held in Saudi Arabia. It was also the longest. I am glad that our Tatra which we put together at the last minute, implementing a number of new items but using the old base type, made it to the end. A lot of people didn't give us much of a chance, so I am happy." He also paid tribute to the Buggyra mechanics. "I'm also glad that we had a perfect team of mechanics around the truck who were able to keep the Tatra in good shape throughout the Dakar. Everybody has problems during the Dakar, it is just that some people admit to them and others don’t. Thanks to the mechanics, we made it to the end, so have to thank them a lot," said Martin Šoltys with emotion in his voice.

Then he briefly described the final 135-km long Dakar stage. "Today's stage was tricky from a navigation‘s point of view. Right after the start, there were two waypoints close together, a lot of people were going back. We drove on to get to the finish. We have a big lead on the crews behind us, so there was no need to panic," said the Tatra 815 pilot

You could also see the joy on Róbert Kasák's face. "We are at the finish line, there is nothing else to say. I have no words. During the last leg, we had a little race. It is a big responsibility to take the whole crew on the last meters of the Dakar. It is a great victory for everyone to complete such a difficult event. The Tatra did a great job all along but our bodies didn't. We had a slow start as we hadn’t been training regularly. But despite all the issues, our result is great. The Argentine Dakar was difficult, but this one was the hardest I have done so far," admitted the Tatra Buggyra Slovakian driver.

Source Buggyra

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Dakar 2023: Final stage - Machacek would like to do the Dakar all over again. Kazarka third in the Dakar Classic

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Josef Machacek completed his 20th Dakar, while Aliyyah Koloc unfortunately didn’t see the finish line of her first Dakar. After yesterday's technical problems, the organizers did not allow her to start today's timed section. Jaroslav Valtr secured fifth place overall with his third position in the final stage. Right behind him in the overall standings is Martin Šoltys, who set the tenth best time today. Róbert Kasák finished ninth tdoay (and thus the best result this year), making him 16th overall. Josef Macháček finished just outside the top 10 in 11th overall of the T3 - Light Prototypes category, he was 25th today. Radovan Kazarka in a Tatra Puma confirmed third place in his Dakar Classic today.

After the last stage, Josef Macháček did not hide his enthusiasm for the route and his Buggyra Can-Am DV 21. I finished all the Dakars that I started in a Can-Am. The last stage was supposed to be beautiful, driving along the sea shore, but the weather turned it into one big mud pit. I had a great time with my navigator, David Schovanek. He got in at the very last minute, but soon showed that he really understood navigation, so I could concentrate on the driving. Technical racing is part of the sport. It's fifty percent driver and fifty percent technique," explained the Buggyra ZM Academy driver.

The 65-year-old was perhaps most surprised by his own fitness. "The luxury that the Buggyra team provides in terms of sleeping, comfort and security allows us to concentrate fully on the racing. We were completely relaxed. I'd love to do the Dakar again," he praised Buggyra's facilities.

Unfortunately, 18-year-old debutant Aliyyah Koloc did not see the finish line of her debut Dakar Rally start. The organisers did not allow her to start the final stage due to delays. "Everybody worked all night on the Can-Am, to fix the technical issues the car had experienced yesterday. Nobody went to sleep and some things were still being fixed at the road section. „However, it's clear that when everything worksas it should, Aliyyah is able to drive at the front of the field and gain experience. It's the basis for future starts," said Buggyra team principal Martin Koloc.

The participants of the Dakar Classic completed only one road section today without a timed section. Nothing could change Radovan Kazarka's third place overall in this category. "I am experiencing feelings that you maybe only have once in a lifetime. We are also lucky as racers. I owe this succes to the whole crew. It was hard work and a lot of sacrifices," said the Tatra Puma driver, assessing his result this year.

 

Source Buggyra

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Dakar 2023: Final stage - Anja van Loon finishes her first Dakar in 14th place

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Debuting in the Dakar Rally is never easy, but Anja van Loon shows that a debut can go very well. Together with the experienced Dmytro Tsyro, she finishes 14th in the T3 classification. Throughout the rally, Van Loon keeps driving her own pace and stays out of trouble. She is also the fastest of the family and plans for Dakar 2024 are taking shape.

"This is so good!" says Anja. "I had not dared to dream this. My goal was to finish and I would love to get into the top 25. Dmytro and I just finished 14th! The Can-Am didn't experience anything throughout the rally, for that I am very grateful to South Racing. I also want to thank Dmytro, thanks to him we are here and his experience was really golden. Of course I want to thank all the sponsors for their support and the fans for all the nice messages. But my biggest thanks go to my husband, Erik. His support is so important, he really dragged me through it and helped me so much. Thank you honey."

Anja is also the fastest in the family. "That's kind of nice! The rest of the family has been through some things and fortunately we haven't, but they are going to hear about this for a while. Erik unfortunately had to give up after the 7th stage, but in the standings I'm about an hour ahead of my brothers. I won the family competition this year!"

Plans for Dakar 2024 are becoming more and more concrete for Anja. "I am going to drive an Iveco Powerstar from Team De Rooy. In it we will drive with three women, Floor Maten will navigate me and Suzanne Peek will be the mechanic. The program for this year is taking shape, I am going to drive a number of races with the Can-Am, together with Floor, and also a lot of testing in Morocco with Suzanne. I am really looking forward to it! Three women in the truck is unique in the Dakar Rally."

In that program, Erik will also be racing. "As it looks now, that will be the rounds from the W2RC and some more Baja. So we will start in Abu Dhabi at the end of February, we will also go to Mexico and Argentina. But more on that soon, first we are going to enjoy this debut of Anja. What a top performance from her! I am so incredibly proud, she only had 3 flat tires and nothing else experienced. This was a very tough Dakar, so it has been a good baptism of fire."

 

Automatic translation from the original Dutch version
Source Van Loon Racing

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Dakar 2023: Final stage - South Racing Can-Am Team enjoys sucessful Dakar with rookie Eryk Goczal clinching T4 Category victory

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  • South Racing-built Can-Ams finish first and second in T3 lightweight prototype class
  • South Racing-built Can-Ams secure top eight places in FIA T4 category 
  • Team enters 20 cars and is represented by 28 nationalities at the 45th Dakar Rally

The South Racing Can-Am Team enjoyed its busiest ever Dakar Rally and South Racing-built Can-Ams won the FIA T3 and T4 categories and dominated the leader boards in both classes at the finish in Dammam on Monday.

American racer Austin Jones entered the history books for becoming the youngest driver to win back-to-back Dakars, after the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BF Goodrich driver added the T3 title to the T4 success he earned last year in another South Racing-built car.

Eighteen-year-old rookie Eryk Goczal also created a little bit of history by becoming the youngest ever Dakar stage winner during the first week’s action. But that was a mere dress rehearsal for the celebrations that occurred when the Energylandia Rally Team driver secured the outright T4 title on the final stage in his South Racing-run car.

The young Pole had pushed Red Bull Can-Am driver Rokas Baciuška all the way since his rival snatched the lead on stage seven and held it until the final day. But, when the Lithuanian hit trouble on the final stage in his South Racing-built car, Goczal was there to pounce and he added a Dakar title to a total of four stage wins. He now leads the W2RC’s T4 standings by seven points after the opening round.

Even more delight for the Goczal family came when Eryk’s father Marek and co-driver Maciej Marton managed to pass Baciuška to secure second overall, only for a two-minute penalty to push the Polish theme park owner back down to third place.

At the finish, an emotional young Goczal said: “I finished my first Dakar. I cannot be more grateful for the moment. I made the decision to go with my family to fight for the first position. The risk may not have paid off today and we had some trouble on the way but we gave it our best shot and we won. It is an amazing feeling.”

Behind Jones and his Red Bull-backed colleagues, Seth Quintero, Cristina Gutiérrez and Francisco López, who finished second, fourth and fifth in T3 in South Racing-built cars, South Racing Can-Am Team crews featured extensively down the general classification.

The South African duo of Geoff Minitt and Gerhard Snyman enjoyed their best Dakar finish in 12th overall, while Dutch female driver Anya van Loon teamed up with Ukraine’s Dmytro Tsyro to reach Dammam in 14th.

Mashael Al-Obaidan flew the Saudi flag proudly alongside Italian co-driver Paulo Ceci to come home in 24th and António Marmolejo made the long trip from Colombia worthwhile by securing a 25th-placed finish with Argentina’s Ariel Jaton.

Continuing the truly international and cosmopolitan nature of the South Racing Can-Am Team, the Portuguese duo of Helder Rodrigues and Gonçalo Reis put early delays behind them to finish 27th. Dania Akeel and her Uruguayan navigator Sergio Lafuente lost time with accident damage before the rest day in Riyadh but recovered well to be classified in 28th and ninth of the crews registered for W2RC T3 points.

Argentina’s David Zille and Sebastien Cesana managed to win the ninth stage outright on their way to 30th overall, while Chile’s Lucas del Rio and his Argentinian co-driver Bruno Jacomy brought up the rear of the T3 field in 38th. The only non-finishers were the 2022 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas T3 champion Fernando Alvarez and his French co-driver Xavier Panseri. They retired with technical issues before the rest day.

Across the T3 and T4 categories, the South Racing Can-Am Team was represented by 20 cars and 28 nationalities, including both men and women and participants from three generations.

Behind the battle between Goczal, Baciuška and the winner’s father Marek, South Racing Can-Ams dominated the top eight in the T4 rankings.

The Argentinian pairing of Jeremías Ferioli and Pedro Rinaldi won the eighth stage en route to a fine fourth overall, the duo passing the fifth-placed Spanish duo of Gerard Farrés and Diego Ortego late in the rally after the former biker had suffered overheating issues on stage 11.

Rodrigo Luppi de Oliveira made a superb start to his Dakar challenge and the Brazilian led for three days before he and Maykel Justo dropped back to eventually finish 29th. His son faired much better, however, and consistent performances netted Bruno Conti de Oliveira and Pedro Prata sixth place in T4.

Marek Goczal’s brother Michal teamed up with fellow Pole Szymon Gospodarczyk to win the 12th stage and finish seventh after earlier delays had cost them any chance of challenging for the podium. Equador’s Sebastien Guayasamin and his Argentine co-driver Ricardo Torlaschi came home in a solid eighth.

Outside the top 10, Australian rallying all-rounder Molly Taylor and former factory motorcycle rider Andrew Short teamed up to finish 12th and the Dutch crew of Gert-Jan van der Valk and Branco de Lange were 15th.

Saudi driver Yasir Seaidan narrowly missed out on stage wins on several occasions with co-driver Alexei Kuzmich but enjoyed the recent transition from racing in T1 to adjusting his driving style to a T4 Can-Am. He finished 23rd, while stage three winner Cristiano Batista and his co-driver Fausto Moto were 32rd.

The South Racing Can-Am Team received valuable support for the race programme from Method Wheels, Tensor Tires, Motul, Bell, Jjuan Brake Systems, Lazer and OMP.

45th Dakar Rally – FIA T3 standings:

1. Austin Jones (USA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) Red Bull Off-Road Junior Can-Am Maverick X3    51hr 55min 53sec   

2. Seth Quintero (USA)/Dennis Zenz (DEU) Red Bull Off-Road Junior Can-Am Maverick X3                                    52hr 47min 58sec

3. Guillaume de Mévius (BEL)/François Cazalet (FRA) GRallyteam OT3                                                                     53hr 31min 35sec

4. Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP)/Pablo Moreno Huete (ESP) Red Bull Can-Am Factory Maverick X3          54hr 52min 13sec

5. Francisco Lopez (CHL)/Oriol Mena (ESP) Red Bull Can-Am Factory Maverick X3                                  54hr 55min 41sec

6. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/João Pedro Ré (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3                                                                             56hr 10min 01sec

7. Ebenhaezer Basson (ZAF)/Bertus Leander Pienaar (ZAF) GRallyteam OT3                                             56hr 49min 59sec

8. Hans Weijs (NLD)/Rudolf Meijer (NLD) Arcane T3                                                                                            58hr 08min 58sec

9. Santiago Navarro (ESP)/Adrien Metge (FRA) Can-Am Maverick X3                                                                             58hr 30min 40sec

10. Ignacio Casale (CHL)/Alvaro Leon (CHL) Yamaha YXZ 1000 R                                                                             58hr 49min 20sec

13. Geoff Minnitt (ZAF)/Gerhard Snyman (ZAF) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                         62hr 58min 07sec

14. Anya van Loon (NLD)/Dmytro Tsyro (UKR) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                         63hr 29mn 30sec

24. Mashael Al-Obaidan (SAU)/Paulo Ceci (ITA) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                         80hr 42min 21sec

25. António Marmolejo (COL)/Ariel Jaton (ARG) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS                       81hr 27min 34sec

27. Helder Rodrigues (PRT)/Gonçalo Reis (PRT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                         87hr 14min 12sec

28. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Sergio Lafuente (URY) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                         87hr 39min 22sec

30. David Zille (ARG)/Sebastien Cesana (ARG) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                         92hr 01min 18sec

38. Lucas Del Rio (CHL)/Bruno Jacomy (ARG) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                                 196hr 19min 19sec

Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                         RETIRED

 

Source South Racing

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Dakar 2023: Final Stage - Team Audi Sport with good individual results and setbacks at the Dakar Rally

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  • 14 stage podiums and seven times among the top 3 in the overall standings
  • Electric drive concept of the low-emission race car highly efficient
  • Board member Oliver Hoffmann: “We’ll be back in 2024”

The effort paid off: Team Audi Sport shaped the 2023 Dakar Rally with innovation and performance right up to the end despite various setbacks. The Audi RS Q e-tron with its electric drive concept scored a total of 14 podium results on 15 event days including the prologue. In addition, the Audi drivers led the rally in Saudi Arabia with the prototype for three days for the first time. However, a series of punctures, the accident-related retirements of Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz and Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger as well as a massive loss of time for Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist prevented a better result than 14th place.

Oliver Hoffmann, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi, visited the motorsport team on the final weekend in Saudi Arabia and recognized many achievements: “The pace of our innovative Audi RS Q e-tron was good right from the start and also showed at the end. Unfortunately, we also had bad luck in the desert and many punctures. Despite the setbacks, the team celebrated a finish thanks to strong performances. We will now analyze all areas. A podium was our goal. It remains so, because we will definitely compete again in 2024.” After the second outing at the Dakar Rally Rolf Michl, Head of Motorsport at Audi, also drew a mixed conclusion: “We experienced all the highs and lows at this edition of the Dakar Rally. The top results in the daily classifications show that we are among the fastest with our innovative RS Q e-tron. And with a car that produces the lowest emissions. However, from tire and chassis damage when encountering obstacles on the rough tracks to the accidents, we have also experienced many disappointments. Now we are thoroughly working through all aspects.” This makes the motivation and performance of Team Audi Sport in the bivouac, but also by the race truck team on the stages, all the more remarkable. “On 15 event days, the team gave everything during the evening service. The same goes for Michael Baumann, Philipp Beier and Audi Sport engineer Sebastian Lindner in the Race Truck,” says Uwe Breuling, Head of Vehicle Operations. “The joint strong effort by Q Motorsport and by our employees paid off. Without them, the good individual results and the finish would have been unthinkable.”

Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist led the world’s toughest desert rally after the prologue, their teammates Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz on the two following days. However, a series of 14 punctures on the first four desert stages, spread across all three driver teams, cost Audi valuable time. Further setbacks followed when Carlos Sainz damaged his suspension in the scree of the third stage and in an accident on the sixth stage. Similarly, a stone invisible in the desert dust destroyed a suspension on Mattias Ekström’s car on the seventh stage. The 14-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel was no longer in the race at this point. After jumping off a dune, his car landed so hard that co-driver Edouard Boulanger was taken to hospital with back pain. The diagnosed vertebral injury was subsequently treated by specialists in Germany. “Three stage results in the top three showed what was possible,” says Stéphane Peterhansel. “However, I have no memory of my accident, which dashed all hopes.” The day before their retirement, the French driver pairing was still in a promising position in second place overall. With Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz, a second Audi driver duo followed just behind in fourth place. “But then it seemed that nothing was going in our favor this year,” Carlos Sainz summed up. “The entire team was well prepared but two accidents prevented our finish. That’s how motorsport can be sometimes, unfortunately.” Five times the Spaniard and his co-driver Lucas Cruz finished among the top three in the stage results until their retirement.

All hopes therefore rested on Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist. The Swedes, who are contesting only their third Dakar Rally, once again mastered the demanding competition with more than 4,200 special stage kilometers and almost 8,900 kilometers in total as the best Audi team. “It was a tough rally: we never gave up even after the high time losses,” said two-time DTM Champion and World Rallycross Champion Ekström. “When we didn’t have confidence in the roadbook on individual days, we took some speed out, otherwise we measured ourselves against the front runners.” With great success: from the ninth stage onwards, the Scandinavians were among the top four six times in a row. In the demanding sand dunes in the Empty Quarter, Ekström/Bergkvist even achieved third and second place of the day on the marathon stage without evening service on January 12 and 13. In total, they were among the top three in the stage rankings six times during the 2023 Dakar Rally. Almost seven hours behind after repairs to their own car, but also their help for their teammate Sainz, meant 14th place overall in the end.

“In some respects, the Dakar Rally has returned to its roots this year,” analyzed Sven Quandt, team principal of Q Motorsport, who looks back on some three decades of experience as a former driver and team owner. “The relentless pace, the setbacks for a number of top drivers, correspondingly large shifts in the standings, the length of many stages and the challenging terrain are all reminders of the past. I’m happy that we as a team with Audi managed this competition and made it possible to reach the finish. For Mattias and Emil, this discipline is still relatively new. Hats off to their performances.”

Source Audi
Photo: Audi Communications Motorsport / Michael Kunkel

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Dakar 2023: Final stage - Laia Sanz increases her record after reaching the finish line of the Dakar for the 13th time.

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  • The KH-7 rider has finished all the editions of the toughest race in the world in which she has participated, including this year's 2023, which she has had to overcome a multitude of adversities.
  • Together with her co-driver Maurizio Gerini, the rider from Corbera de Llobregat has shown she has the pace to be among the top 15, although problems have conditioned the final result.
  • "It means a lot to me to have finished 13 out of 13, which is something incredible and has cost us a lot. I'm left with a bittersweet taste, because finishing the Dakar is great, but we know that we could have been quite far ahead this year."
  • "I have seen that I have taken an important step forward and that we could have done well, but the mechanics sometimes in motorsport play tricks and this 13 I begin to think that it does give bad luck."

Another Dakar completed for Laia Sanz, and that's 13 in a row! The KH-7 rider continues to break statistics and extend her legend with one more finish to her list of achievements. The rider from Corbera de Llobregat remains the only Spanish rider who has managed to finish 11 consecutive participations on a motorcycle, plus two in cars, with 100% reliability, something that very few in the world can boast.

Laia Sanz crossed the finish line in Dammam, on the shores of the Persian Gulf, 15 days after setting off from the opposite end of Saudi Arabia, on the shores of the Red Sea. In these two weeks, he has covered a total of 8,894 kilometers, 4,317 of them timed and spread over 14 stages, plus a prologue. With 64 hours, 21 minutes and 54 seconds accumulated during the crossing and a thousand and one vicissitudes, the Catalan finished 65th overall, 32nd in T1 cars and 14th in the classification of 4x2 traction prototypes.

The result is not what was expected for the best female motorcycle rider in the entire history of the Dakar - 9th absolute in 2015 - who was now aspiring to enter the Top 15 in the car category in her second participation on four wheels, but mechanical setbacks conditioned her chances very early on.

"It means a lot to me to have finished 13th out of 13, which is something incredible and it cost us a lot. I would like to thank the mechanics for their work every day and every night. I would also like to thank my co-driver Maurizio Gerini, who did a great job. It's true that I have a bittersweet taste, because finishing the Dakar is great, but we know that we could have been far ahead this year", confesses Laia Sanz

The problems for her and her co-driver Maurizio Gerini started in the second stage, when the studs of a wheel broke and they lost several hours until they could repair and continue. That was the first major setback they suffered, just on the day when they had scored several partial results at the gates of the Top 10 of the stage, thanks to a pace that foreshadowed a great result for them. But the most critical moment would come three days later, on stage five, when, at 140 km/h on a flat straight, they suffered a spectacular rollover - "inexplicable", they said - with five somersaults, which almost cost them the abandonment. Fortunately, the structure of the vehicle was not affected and, with the help of the fourth car in the race of the ASTARA team and the T5 race assistance truck, they were able to repair and move on.

From then on, Laia Sanz set two goals: to finish the toughest race in the world for the 13th time and to achieve good stage results. The first of these she achieved today. The second was halfway, given that she showed she had the pace to be between 10th and 15th place, but various mechanical problems hampered her chances. In the end, after several results in the top 25, he managed an 18th place in the ninth stage, his best classification in the two years he has competed in cars.

The KH-7 rider closed the Dakar 2023 this Sunday, January 15, with a 36th place finish on the 14th and last special stage of the rally, 13 minutes behind the leader. "Today I thought we would have a good time, but we had power problems and we took it easy to get to the finish, and that's the most important thing," he acknowledged.

Despite the difficulties, Sanz has shown a great evolution compared to the previous edition, which marked his debut on four wheels: "For the pace we had I saw that I have made an important step forward and that we could have done well, but sometimes in motorsport the mechanics play tricks and this 13 I start to think that it does give bad luck. We haven't had a single clean day where something didn't happen, and that's a bit frustrating, but we have learned a lot of things from the difficult situations of this Dakar. We know that we can be very competitive in the next edition", she predicts.

 

Automatic translation from the original Spanish version available on www.todoterreno.pt
Source  Laia Sanz / KH-7 official press release

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Dakar 2023: Final stage - Century beats double Dakar disaster

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Cruel Dakar grabs defeat from the jaws of a Century victory

South African Century Racing somehow dragged both its Factory CR6-T racecars to the finish of the 2023 Dakar Rally after catastrophic final two days which quite literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The team however fought back to see both crews finish the gruelling race after biblical series of events threw more than one late spanner in the works.

South African Century Factory duo Brian Baragwanath and navigator Leonard Cremer held a comfortable T1.2 4x2 class lead in seventh overall going into the penultimate morning. They had led the class for most of the way, only for the slightest of misjudgement to see them take flight and roll their CR6-T over early on Saturday.

“We were scanning 500 meters ahead to figure out what line to use to cross a massive dune coming up and we did not see the 4-metre-deep dune valley until it was too late,” Baragwanath confessed. “I was two seconds late on the brakes and we took off before making a heavy landing on the nose. “That bent the tubes and crushed the radiator and fans, and some heavy repairs were required.

“There was no way we could fix it there, so we waited for our service truck and took the penalties as they towed us straight out of the stage. “We had to be towed through a biblical storm and the bivouac was a mud bath when we arrived, but the team did an almighty job to repair the car for Sunday’s final stage, and we were able to make the start.”

With Baragwanath tumbling down the stage order, Frenchmen Mathieu Serradori and navigator Loic Minaudier took up the Century Racing charge. Despite getting stuck at the beginning and later feeling ill in the car, Mathieu forged ahead and closed down his deficit to only 2 minutes and 30 seconds behind new T1.2 4x2 class leader Han Wei by the finish. But Century’s Lady Luck was still in a bad very mood.

“We felt the car was a bit off in the soft stuff, but still had a strong stage,Mathieu reported. “Then the oil pressure dropped on the road section, just as it started hailing and raining. “Our rival Han wei generously towed us home and we were in for a long night as they worked on both cars in atrocious conditions in the new bivouac.”

“The racing gods were not smiling on us in the end” team boss Julien Hardy confessed. “It was another hard night for the team as we worked to repair the big damage to Brian’s car after the FIA gave us the all-clear to fix it, and tried to sort Mathieu’s engine. “We realised that there was a good chance of Mathieu having engine trouble, so we planned that Brian should tow them to the finish.

“Brian and Len decided to take the penalties on the nose and try jump the queue to start behind Mathieu, but the officials said no. “Mathieu’s engine did fail 10 km into the stage, so they waited for Brian to tow them in, despite the odds and a hot car. Fortunately, it rained and somehow they got through quickly enough to see Mathieu steal back third in class and 12th overall, with Brian 35th.

“That’s nothing near what we expected, starting Saturday in the lead and third in class, and both cars in the top ten. “But that’s racing. “We must take the positives out of this, like our rival T1.2 winner Han Wei who showed great sportsmanship by stopping to tow Mathieu. “Congratulations to them on a well-deserved class win after a ten-hour penalty last year and not being able to return home for 2 months due to lockdown.

“Our new CR6-Ts are however phenomenal. “We only finished them when we arrived here at the Dakar, and they have been a work in progress throughout the race. “The potential is brilliant. “Special thanks and appreciation to our entire, fantastic team and to all our many loyal fans and supporters, your encouragement was brilliant and really kept us going even in the hardest of times.”

A total of ten Century racecars started Dakar 2023, including two new Audi bi-turbo V6-powered Factory CR6-Ts, and eight Corvette V8 propelled CR6s. Despite a few issues en route, ex World Superbike champion Carlos Checa and Marc Terradellas clean-fuelled Astara car fared best of those with a good run to 23rd Saturday and a fine tenth on Sunday, to end 23rd overall and 10th in T1.2.

Astara teammates, Dakar bike heroes, lady legend Laia Sanz and Fabrizio Gerini overcame major midrace challenges to come home 19th on Saturday and 25th Sunday to end 32nd overall and 14th in class. 39th on Saturday, a late disaster also befel Antoine Galland and Denis Kripal’s ORC CR6. They struggled home last on Sunday to rescue 33rd overall.

After being helicoptered out after a Saturday crash, French rookie couple Yannick and Valérie Panagiotis dusted themselves off, righted their FJ CR6 and come home 44th Sunday to end 41st overall and 18th in class. Dutch twins, Tim and Tom Coronel had a clean run after their big Tuesday roll. They were 22nd Saturday and 28th on Sunday to claw back to 42nd overall and 19th in class.

Sergio Vallejo and Mario Gozalez Tome’s Astara Century CR6 Corvette withdrew after a few days of struggle in Week 2, while Dakar 2023 did not start well for two Century crews. Oscar Fuertes Aldanon and Dodiego Vallejo rolled their Astara CR6 out on day 1, not far from where Dutch Michel Kremer and Thomas de Bois’ car burned out after a suspected fuel leak ignited.

“This race was a game of snakes and ladders game, with mostly small ladders to climb up and big vicious snakes waiting to take you down at all times, Julien Hardy concluded. “But now it’s time to dust off and regroup. “We will be back, stronger, and better than ever!”

* Century Racing Factory Team is proudly sponsored by Fortinet, SRT, R53 Suspension, International Race Supplies, AP Racing, ALDO, CEMS Consult, Trollope Mining, ATS Racing Supplies, OMP, Mecad - Solidworks SA, Sadev, Ekoil, Caltex Havoline SA and Houss.

Source Century Racing via Motorsport Media

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Dakar 2023: Final stage - Tim and Tom Coronel check off Dakar 2023

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It certainly didn’t go by itself, but Tim and Tom Coronel can tick off the Dakar Rally 2023. Because of the heap of penalty time they received after the somersault in stage 7, the standings were of no meaning anymore but as far as the brothers are concerned, this Dakar counts double. “This Dakar was tougher than in years.”

They rode every meter and finished every day. Only it turned out that it was not allowed to be towed on public roads on three wheels. Tim and Tom Coronel got so much penalty time for that that they dropped to the bottom of the ranking. Tom is still a little sick of it at the finish of the last stage, in which they finished thirtieth. “I like the competition and the performance and we were doing very good,” he says. “We were around 15th place and the two days of misery we had after the rollover might have cost us time, but we were never in any major trouble and the car performed well.”

The eighth stage was full of the consequential damage from the rollover and on the rest day the engine had to be replaced, resulting in even more penalty time. “When you out of contention, you just go for the finish,” said Tom. “The fact that we have achieved this is a great milestone. If you take a good look and see how many cars and trucks are still running, but out of competition, you understand what a tough Dakar this has been.”

After the rest day, Tim and Tom went into survival mode, as Tim calls it. “Then only finishing counts. I’m glad we were able to do that. We have hardly had any problems with the car and the potential is just there. The last days were also super beautiful, with very special landscapes.” “We have seen beautiful things and have been seriously thrown in at the deep end,” adds Tom. “And it was another very nice adventure with my brother.”

 

Source Coronel Dakar Team

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Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - Austin Jones keeps cool head – and the lead

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Austin Jones and Gustavo Gugelmin found the penultimate stage of the 2023 Dakar Rally tougher than expected, but the American driver of Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team and his Brazilian co-driver brought their Can-Am home safely. Clocking the 9th time in the stage, they keep the overall lead firmly in their hands, with a gap of over fifty minutes before the last day.

“Just finished up stage 13, one more to go, happy about that. It was a hard day, I would say, probably one of the hardest days so far. We cruised along, we took a bit of extra time to be extra careful, and got to the finish. We are going into tomorrow with a 54-minute lead or something like that, hoping to close this one out. I hope tomorrow will be nicer to us stage-wise, but you never know. They’ve made this Dakar super hard, not expecting too much other than a tough stage. We are happy that we are here, cruising along,“
Austin Jones said after the penultimate stage.

“Tough stage today, for me one of the most difficult ones because of the dunes, but we are, you know, in a fast and safe pace. We have some minutes of the leading, so it's good,”
Gustavo Gugelmin said about Stage 13. The Brazilian co-driver then talked about his compatriots, who are also shining in the 2023 edition of the Dakar Rally.
“There are a lot of Brazilians who are doing quite well. We have Lucas Moraes in the T1. He's third overall, and it's really good. He's a rookie, it’s his first time in the Dakar. We also have Marcelo Medeiros in quads, who is doing well, he won one or two special stages.
We got a Brazilian female driver, Pamela Bozzano, and her husband, Enio Bozzano. We have Luppi, who won stages, we have Cristiano Batista in T4, who also won stages. So, the Brazilians are outstanding in the Dakar which is really good. It's nice to see more Brazilians winning stages and being in top 3, top 5, top 10 overall.”

Text: Rita Kónya
Interviews: Sveta Amelichkina
Photos: MCH

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