Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - Only a small step to the big sensation, Moraes and Gottschalk are about to reach the "Dakar" podium

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  • Penultimate stage of the Dakar Rally: Lucas Moraes and Timo Gottschalk still third overall with seventh place on the day
    136 stage kilometers, just over three per cent of the total distance remaining to the finish on Sunday
    Last tricky dune stage of the 2023 "Dakar" leads from Shaybah to Hofuf

Hofuf, Saudi Arabia (January 14, 2023) - Lucas Moraes and Timo Gottschalk are on the verge of achieving the Dakar Rally sensation: One stage and 136 test kilometers before the finish of the relentless tour through Saudi Arabia, they rank third overall. On the 13th stage of the desert classic from Shaybah to Hofuf, a seventh place on the day was enough for them to be ranked among the top three for the eighth day and almost 2,000 test kilometers in a row. The Brazilian-Brandenburg duo also achieved a place among the day's top ten for the tenth time in 13 stages - before the "Dakar" they had set achieving a single such placing as their ultimate goal. On average, they finished the 13 stages in eighth position. All this resembles a small "Dakar" sensation and is the first big surprise of the young motorsport year.

The stage win went for the sixth time in a row, for the seventh time overall, to nine-time World Rally Champion and experienced "Dakar" driver Sébastien Loeb and his co-driver Fabian Lurquin (FRA/BEL, Prodrive) - the duo with whom Moraes Gottschalk had been fighting for second place overall until the previous day. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA, Toyota) continue to lead the overall standings.

A final greeting from the Empty Quarter, the last dune foothills of the world's largest sand desert: With a 153-kilometer special stage, more than four-fifths of it in dunes, the contenders left probably the most difficult task of the Dakar Rally behind them. The route from Shaybah to Hofuf also included short bulkhead passages and sandy tracks - but essentially it was about conquering the never-ending desert once again. On Sunday, however, the remaining 136 kilometers of the stage are expected to be largely solid ground.

Lucas Moraes : "That was another real desert stage. We are happy to have put the Empty Quarter behind us with respectable results and without any major dramas. Now, with the last 136 kilometers on the clock, it's all about the big picture once again: a place on the podium. That's within our grasp now, but only if we continue to keep our cool."

Timo Gottschalk : "The last test out of the Empty Quarter, once again really desert. A kind of never-ending story, dune after dune. It was not so easy, also from the view, because the sun was unfavorable. You could hardly make out the contours of the dunes. It wasn't easy to stay calm and concentrate."


Automatic translation from the original German version
Source: Dakar.direct / Timo Gottschalk
Photo: Vitor Eleuterio / Fotop

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Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - Halpern takes tenth place overall

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  • Przygonski finishes stage in sixth place
  • Finish podium in Dammam tomorrow

Only a little more than 400 kilometres separate the competitors from the finish in Dammam. Today's twelfth stage sent the crews into the dunes for the last time before they drove over a liaison of about 500 kilometres to Al-Hofuf. Jakub "Kuba" Przygonski and Armand Monleon finished sixth in the MINI JCW Rally Plus. Sebastian Halpern and Bernardo "Ronnie" Graue finished the stage in twelfth place in the MINI JCW Rally Plus. They were able to make up one position in the overall standings and are now in tenth place.

Kuba Przygonski: "Dunes, dunes, dunes - that was today's stage. Pretty exhausting, but it was fun. It was also a tough stage for the car. Tomorrow we have the last stage. We will go full throttle because we have nothing to lose."

Sebastian Halpern: "A difficult stage today. Many dunes and difficult navigation. But we achieved one goal: we are in tenth place overall."

The last 136 kilometres will bring no more surprises on tomorrow's 14th and final stage. The route leads the participants along the Persian Gulf to the finish city of Dammam.

Dakar Rally 2023 - result SS13

1. S. Loeb / F. Lurquin – BRX – 2h 26m 17s
2. N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel – Toyota – 2h 31m 45s
3. M. Ekström / E. Bergkvist – Audi – 2h 32m 48s
4. H. Lategan / B. Cummings – Toyota – 2h 35m 44s
5. Y. Al-Rajhi – D. von Zitzewitz – Toyota – 2h 37m 13s
6. J. Przygonski / A. Monleon – MINI JCW Rally Plus – 2h 37m 48s

13. S. Halpern / B. Graue – MINI JCW Rally Plus – 2h 43m 12s

22. Sh. K. Al-Qassimi / O. Floene – MINI JCW Buggy – 2h 54m 48s

27. D. Krotov / K. Zhiltsov – MINI JCW Buggy – 3h 23m 40s

Overall standings after SS13

1. N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel – Toyota – 43h 48m 10s
2. S. Loeb / F. Lurquin – BRX – 45h 09m 52s
3. L. Moraes / T. Gottschalk – Toyota – 45h 24m 00s
4. G. de Villiers / D. Murphy – Toyota – 46h 18m 54s
5. H. Lategan / B. Cummings – Toyota – 46h 26m 30s

10. S. Halpern / B. Graue – MINI JCW Rally Plus – 48h 34m 36s

16. Sh. K. Al-Qassimi / O. Floene – MINI JCW Buggy – 50h 54m 00s

18. J. Przygonski / A. Monleon – MINI JCW Rally Plus – 51h 19m 33s

21. D. Krotov / K. Zhiltsov – MINI JCW Buggy – 52h 26m 19s


Source X-Raid
Photo DPPI

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Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - Kevin Benavides wins Dakar Rally stage 13

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Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price and Kevin Benavides lie first and second overall in the provisional standings at the 2023 Dakar Rally. After over 43 hours of racing, the two KTM 450 RALLY riders are separated by just 12 seconds! Unfortunately, Matthias Walkner crashed out of stage 13 today and was airlifted to hospital suffering from pain in his lower back.

Although stage 13 was a long one for the riders, coming in at a total of 675 kilometers, the distance raced against the clock was relatively short at 154 kilometers. The special was again made up predominantly of the rolling dunes of the Empty Quarter, and although navigation wasn’t too challenging, reading the terrain and maintaining a good pace was hugely important in order to secure a good result.

Kevin Benavides endured a tough stint in the desert today. Setting off fifth, the 2021 Dakar winner knew the penultimate stage of the event would offer the best chance to make up ground on teammate, rival, and overall rally leader Toby Price. However, at around 55 kilometers into the special, Kevin reached Matthias Walkner who had crashed. Staying with his fellow Red Bull KTM racer until the medical team arrived cost Benavides around 23 minutes. After rejoining the race Kevin pushed hard for the finish, making up good time in the process. After having the lost minutes returned to him, Benavides topped the stage by a tight 27 seconds – enough to provisionally move him up into second in the overall standings.

Kevin Benavides:It’s always a difficult day when you see someone has had a crash, and it’s worse when it’s your teammate. I stayed with Matthias until help arrived and although he was in some pain, he then told me to carry on. I pushed hard for the rest of the stage, but it’s tricky to focus after seeing something like that. To win the stage is amazing, and to be second overall and so close to Toby is even more of a surprise. With one day left all I can do is try my best and the results will be decided at the finish line.”

Delivering an excellent ride to fifth place on stage 13, despite a small crash and a navigational error, Toby Price retained his lead in the overall standings. But with Benavides now moving into second, a mere 12 seconds behind, the race to the finish line in Dammam on Sunday’s final stage will be intense. As per the Dakar Rally rules, riders will set off in reverse order to the general standings, meaning Kevin will be second-to-last away, followed by Toby.

Toby Price: “It’s been a hectic day out there today. I caught the guys in front at about kilometer 90 and thought to myself, if I want to win this race, I have to be out front and capture that bonus a little bit. I had a small crash where I was focused on the top of one dune, lost the front, and fell over. Then around kilometer 130 we just went slightly too far right and lost a little time getting back on course. I really pushed hard all day, with the goal to still be in the lead going into the final day. I managed to do that, so I’m pleased, but it’s still incredibly tight at the top. Tomorrow really is going to be a race to the finish line, but I’ll give it all I have and see where we end up.”

Showing fantastic speed on the dunes of the Empty Quarter over the last few days, Matthias Walkner came into stage 13 eager to impress once again. Unfortunately, a crash at the kilometer 55 mark brought an end to his stage and his rally. The Austrian suffered trauma to his lower back and has been airlifted to hospital in Dammam for further checks.

Sunday’s stage 14 – the final of this year’s event – will see riders leave the bivouac in Al Hofuf and head north to Dammam. The timed special will be a relatively short sprint up the coast to the finish line, where the 2023 Dakar Rally Champion will be crowned.

Provisional Results – 2023 Dakar Rally, Stage 13

1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 2:21:47
2. Michael Docherty (ZAF), Husqvarna, 2:22:14 +0:27
3. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 2:22:44 +0:57
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 2:23:52 +2:05
5. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:24:15 +2:28

Provisional Standings – 2023 Dakar Rally (after 13 of 14 stages)

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 43:11:51
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 43:12:03 +0:12
3. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 43:13:22 +1:31
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 43:27:42 +15:51
5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 43:27:50 +15:59


Source: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

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Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - Third place on Dakar stage 13 for Luciano Benavides

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Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has delivered another stunning performance at the 2023 Dakar Rally, placing third fastest on the 675-kilometre stage 13. Teammate Skyler Howes steered his FR 450 Rally to seventh place and now lies third overall in the provisional overall standings, less than two minutes behind the leader.

It was another tough day in the desert for all riders as they completed the 13th stage of this epic 45th running of the Dakar Rally. As the event left the dunes of the Empty Quarter and headed to Al Hofuf, competitors raced 154 kilometres against the clock, which were followed by a long liaison to reach the bivouac.

Luciano Benavides, pushing hard right from the start of the special, was immediately in contention to take his fourth stage win at this year’s Dakar. Initially fastest across the finish line, a one-minute penalty dropped the number 77 to second, which was then corrected to third place after Luciano’s brother Kevin was rewarded time lost for assisting a fallen rider.

Although slightly disappointed not to have taken another stage win, Luciano was more than happy with the way he has ridden the featureless Empty Quarter region and is now looking to finish his race on a high with another strong ride on tomorrow’s final stage 14.

Still well in the hunt for overall victory at this year’s Dakar, Skyler Howes was the sixth rider through the gate this morning and maintained a strong pace to the finish, despite a couple of errors along the way. The American has dropped down to third overall in the provisional overall standings, but he trails the leader by just one minute and 31 seconds and will have one final opportunity to make up time on his rivals on the rally’s 14th stage tomorrow.

Luciano Benavides:The stage was good – around 150 kilometres of dunes. I had a small crash near the beginning, possibly from pushing a little too hard. But after that, I found my rhythm and was able to push again. Midway through the stage I saw Matthias (Walkner) on the ground with the helicopter. Obviously, I hope everything is ok with him and wish him a speedy recovery. After that, I carried on to the finish and think I did a good job. It wasn’t quite enough to win the stage, but I’m happy with how I rode.”

Skyler Howes: “Well, I definitely gave my all today – I pushed right from the start as hard as I could. When I saw that Walkner had crashed, it affected my focus a little bit. There were some really big dunes today, I had big jumps off the top of them myself, too. That was a bit of a deciding factor, I really wanted to push and try and get the win, but I want to make sure that I can complete the race as well. I missed one waypoint later on, and that meant circling around to pick it up, so I lost a little bit of time there. I’m still in the fight for the win, and I have to be super happy with how this race as gone up to this point. I can never look back and say I didn’t try my best. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, it’s going to be a short but fast stage with little scope to make up time I think, so the goal is to get my Husqvarna to the finish line in one piece and hopefully in a good position.”

2023 Dakar Rally – Stage 13 Provisional Classification

1. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 2:21:47
2. Michael Docherty (Husqvarna) 2:22:14
3. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 2:22:44
4. Adrian Van Beveren (Honda) 2:23:52
5. Toby Price (KTM) 2:24:15
6. Romain Dumontier (Husqvarna) 2:24:19

7. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 2:25:18

2023 Dakar – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 13]

1. Toby Price (KTM) 43:11:51
2. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 43:12:03
3. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 43:13:22
4. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 43:27:42
5. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 43:27:50
6. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 43:30:20


Source: Husqvarna Factory Racing

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Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - Sanders safely through penultimate stage

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  • Sanders completes penultimate stage at the Dakar
  • Red Bull GASGAS star enjoys another challenging special
  • Just 281 kilometers separate Chucky from the finish line

That’s the penultimate stage at the Dakar Rally done and dusted. After posting the 11th fastest time, Daniel Sanders now lies in a comfortable seventh overall. As the second rider to enter stage 13, Sanders quickly formed a trio with two other leading riders and together they ripped through the rolling sand dunes of the Empty Quarter for one last time. In the process, Daniel increased his advantage over eighth place from just over three minutes to almost six, ahead of tomorrow’s final - a fairly simple looking special. Bring it home, Chucky.

Daniel Sanders: “It was a pretty tricky but enjoyable day up front today. The dunes were really soft which made it hard to maintain a fast pace while trying to navigate, and between the waypoints there were some big gaps, which added to the difficulty. But I pushed on the best I could to not lose too much time and I think I did a pretty good job. There were definitely a few close calls out there but that’s all part of the fun of riding through the dunes!”

Stage 13 and the penultimate day of racing at the Dakar saw Sanders once again help to open the special following his strong runner-up finish yesterday. Setting off into the 154-kilometer special stage with no lines to follow, Chucky demonstrated some impressive navigation skills to bring his awesome RX 450F home just under five minutes adrift of the stage winner. And now, after covering just over 7,600 kilometers so far in this year’s event, just 417 kilometers separate Daniel from the finish line in Dammam.

Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2023, stage 13
1. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 2:21:47
2. Michael Docherty (Husqvarna) 2:22:14
3. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 2:22:44
11. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 2:26:46

Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 13)
1. Toby Price (KTM) 43:11:51
2. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 43:12:03
3. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 43:13:22
7. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 43:34:25


Source: Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing
Photo Rallyzone

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Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - One for the history books

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  • Dakar 2023 | Stage 13 | SHAYBAH > AL-HOFUF

To pay tribute to the Empty Quarter and bid it a dignified farewell, the penultimate special was held to the south of Shaybah, in a vast and beautiful expanse of sand with chains of dunes as far as the eye can see. Kevin Benavides leveraged his flair and adaptability to drag himself back into contention for the title in this final dune-surfing test, mixed with a return to gravel tracks at the end of the course, which set the stage for the most evenly matched dash to the line in Dakar history. Sébastien Loeb, on the other hand, will have to settle for second overall despite showing his well-rounded skills with a whitewash of specials in the Empty Quarter, where he also smashed a record held by Ari Vatanen since 1989. Not bad.

Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Agatha Christie and Quentin Tarantino would have had to brainstorm together to whip up a script as full of suspense as the one that played out near Shaybah on the eve of the Dakar finale. The authors, Kevin Benavides and Toby Price, had little concern for strategies or calculations, resorting to the brute force of their arms, the wags and wiggles needed to surf the dunes… and pulling the throttle to the stop whenever possible. On the way to his seventh career stage win (see Performance of the day), the biker from Salta slammed on the brakes when he saw his teammate Mattias Walkner had suffered an accident, but he got back in pursuit of his other KTM stablemate, Toby Price, who now finds himself teetering on the edge between victory and defeat with 136 kilometres to go. After the stage to Al-Hofuf, the race is tighter than ever before, with the Australian at the top of the general standings by a razor-thin margin of 12 seconds over Kevin Benavides. After roughly 3,900 kilometres of racing, this gap amounts to barely 300 metres, a distance that both riders will be watching closely in tomorrow's finale on the road to Dammam. While Skyler Howes has been a cut below the Australian and the Argentinian, it would be unwise to write him off, even though his deficit of a minute and a half to Price will be very hard to erase, not least because the exceptional starting order of the final special, in the reverse order of the general classification, means the American will be "flying blind" with Benavides and Price hot on his heels. They will be hard to shake off! It is a completely different story for Nasser Al Attiyah, who had the satisfaction of feeling the sweet breeze of his home country while travelling down the road section a few kilometres from the Qatari border before reaching Al-Hofuf. The scent of a fifth title is also getting stronger for the Toyota driver, even as a Sébastien Loeb firing on all cylinders rewrites the record books 1 h 21 away from what could have been his maiden win. The French driver was not content to secure his second place ahead of the super-rookie Lucas Moraes (see Figure of the day), but also gave himself the pleasure of beating one of Ari Vatanen's records. Loeb is the first car driver to take six stages in a row, for a total of seven in this Dakar (mirroring Sainz's exploit from 2011) and 23 since he first started the Dakar in 2016. In T3, Mitch Guthrie, just like Loeb, added another stage win to his tally (five this year, seven in total), but Austin Jones remained in a league of his own with 50 minutes to spare over Seth Quintero. Alexandre Giroud also remains undaunted despite Marcelo Medeiros's four consecutive victories. In T4, the baby of the Dakar, Eryk Goczał, picked up his fourth triumph and moved within 3′24″ of Rokas Baciuška, who has held up well under the pressure of leading the race since stage 7. Meanwhile, Janus van Kasteren can rest easy when looking at today's classification. Martin van den Brink (see A crushing blow) spiralled out of contention, leaving Martin Macík as Van Kasteren's closest pursuer, 1 h 16 back.

kevin benavides 14 1 w

Toby Price led the standings by 28 seconds over Skyler Howes and 2′40″ over Kevin Benavides this morning. By the finish of the special, which he reached long after his opponents, the Argentinian had managed to take the triumph despite spending 23′10″ with Matthias Walkner, his teammate and winner of the 2018 Dakar, who exited the Dakar in a helicopter. The elder Benavides banished the spectres that often plague champions after such an inauspicious event and went on to win the special after the time spent with Walkner was deducted. He relegated his brother, Luciano, who had been originally named the winner before receiving a one-minute penalty for speeding that cost him his fourth success in this Dakar. The 2021 Dakar champion is only 12 seconds behind the Australian with one stage to go, something that has never happened before in the Dakar! At this stage of the race in 2014, Peterhansel led Roma by a comparatively comfortable 26 seconds. The previous record in the motorbike category had been set not too long ago. In 2019, Pablo Quintanilla started 1′02″ behind… Toby Price himself. The Australian romped to victory in Lima, taking his second title after his success in 2016. To add injury to insult, the Chilean, riding a Husqvarna, ended up sore after he pancaked into the ground from a dune jump. Barring team orders in the Austrian clan, a 153 km sprint will unfold tomorrow, perhaps leading to the narrowest margin of victory in the history of the Dakar!

When a crew loses the Dakar due to a simple navigation blunder or driving error, it can only blame itself and hope to do better next year, but when it is the machine that gives up the ghost… it is enough to drive a person mad. This is exactly what happened to Martin Van Den Brink today. Starting the special over half an hour behind Janus van Kasteren in the general standings, Van den Brink still held out hope of standing on the top step of the podium in Dammam, but it all went up in smoke when mechanical disaster struck in stage 13, on the eve of the finish. The Dutchman had to stop to get his hands dirty about 50 kilometres into the special. Every passing minute was another nail in the coffin of his prospects of finishing the Dakar as the runner-up, as Martin Macík, who has also had his fair share of bad luck in this Dakar, seized the opportunity to move up to second place. When people say the Dakar is unforgiving…

It would have taken a brave person to bet on Lucas Moraes finishing on the overall podium on the evening of stage 6, when he moved up to third place after surviving the carnage that condemned Stéphane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Yazeed Al Rajhi that day. Yet the Brazilian rookie kept a cool head, staying calmer than Henk Lategan, who was still ahead of him at this stage, and not losing his nerve even when Sébastien Loeb started nipping at his heels. Granted, the youngest winner of the Rally dos Sertões, the gold standard of off-road racing in Brazil, gave up his position as runner-up to Nasser Al Attiyah in the face of the onslaught of the nine-time world rally champion and his Hunter, but with one day of racing left, he still has a comfortable and flattering margin of 55 minutes over Giniel de Villiers in the fight for the bottom step of the podium. The last rookie who finished in the top 3 was the 1988 champion, Juha Kankkunen, who repeated the exploit of another illustrious Finn, Ari Vatanen, who had burst onto the stage in triumph in 1987. Lucas Moraes's performance also raises the bar for Brazilians in the top-flight car category: while Leandro Torres and Reinaldo Varela had won the SSV race in 2017 and 2018, respectively, Klever Kolberg was until now the top-ranked Brazilian driver, with eighth place in 2022. Recorde batido.

Barring a dramatic turn of events, Nasser Al Attiyah has got the first round of the season in the bag, and with it, 50 points to Sébastien Loeb's 40. However, his cautious approach has cleared the way for his runner-up, who broke the record for the most consecutive stage wins today, to snap up valuable points on a daily basis. The Qatari may have finished second on the day, right behind the Frenchman, but on the eve of the finish, the two returning lead actors of season 2 are virtually tied on points in the championship! As a reminder, last year, the epilogue of the Dakar saw Nasser leave Jeddah with an advantage of a single point despite his victory in the race. If the two champions make it to the finish tomorrow, the championship will be wide open. Season 2 is about to start again with a vengeance in the car category! Among the motorbikes, the gaps on the current podium favour the two KTM factory riders, Price and Benavides, and Husqvarna's Skyler Howes, none of whom stood on the final podium in 2022. The two brands could also land a big haul of points to the detriment of the reigning world constructor champion. Honda, represented by Van Beveren and Quintanilla in fourth and fifth place, respectively, is unlikely to finish in the same solid position as last year.

The third edition of the Dakar Classic came to an end today, as the caravan will take a road section to the Arabian Gulf tomorrow. This evening, Juan Morera and Lidia Ruba can celebrate becoming the first crew to almost whitewash the entire race in its young history. The Spanish couple has held the overall lead since stage 2, leaving only the scraps of stage 1 to another returning crew, the Galpins in their Protruck. Their friends Carlos Santaolalla and Aran Sol i Juanola follow them in the standings, ahead of the Italians Paolo Bedeschi and Daniele Bottallo. The 2022 champions, Serge Mogno and Florent Drulhon, fifth overall, shone by winning the Challenge Dune Test, which for the first time rewarded the top performances on the chains of dunes. In the Authentic Codriver Challenge, a crew that started with all the modern instruments on board made the best of a bad job. Since their tech simply refused to work, they signed up for the challenge from the age of pencil and paper and came out on top! In the long-awaited Iconic Classic Challenge, reserved for individual vehicles that have already taken part in the Dakar, another Toyota HDJ 80 claimed the title. Indeed, every single 2023 champion was racing in an "80". The Catalans in second place overall drove one that had taken part in the 1994 and 1996 editions, which won the Iconic Classic Challenge here. In one of those tales that delight the Historic, this vehicle used to belong to Jacky Ickx, who planned to race the Dakar in it. Alas, it was not to be, but the story comes full circle in this edition, as the Belgian driver, who has spent the whole fortnight serving as the ambassador of the race, has finally seen "his" car dash to victory in this challenge in the Dakar Classic!

Source: A.S.O. / Dakar Rally

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Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - Only one more stage to go

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Today the penultimate stage of this year’s Dakar Rally was a goodbye to the vast landscapes of the Empty Quarter side of Saudi Arabia. Leaving Shaybah, the riders had a short liaison of nine kilometers and then started the 153 km long special section. The route of this 13th stage was composed mainly with dunes (84 percent) so this was one last chance to enjoy this unique scenario and fight to move up in the top standings.

Monster Energy Honda Team surpassed this physical and mechanical extreme endurance test and reached Al-Hofuf bivouac safely on their Honda’s CRF 450 Rally. After yesterday’s stage win, José Ignacio Cornejo was the first to leave and had the mission to open the track. The Chilean finished with the best 14th time (12th in GP), with a gap of 07:42 minutes for the leader – a performance that allowed him to keep his 8th position in the overall standings. Pablo Quintanilla was 8th (6th in GP) with a gap of 03:33 minutes to the leader – he also kept his position in the overall standings (5th place). Adrien Van Beveren was all stage fighting for the top standings and finished in fourth position, also keeping his fourth place in the overall standings.

The last stage of this year’s Dakar Rally will complete the trip around the red sea, leading the caravan to the shores of the Arabian Gulf in Dammam. There will be a liaison of 270 kilometers from Al-Hofuf and a special section 136 km long – an unusually fast beach section before reaching the final podium ceremony that celebrates all finishers of this great adventure. Tomorrow there will be a reverse start, meaning the slowest will open and the top contenders close the stage.

Ruben Faria - General Manager: “This year's Dakar Rally is for sure one of the most competitive ever. The differences in the top standings are really tight after around 43 hours of racing . We are not in the position we wanted but our riders have been fighting stage after stage, giving all they can and having the full support of the team. That’s the spirit and this is Dakar, let’s continue to give our best. ”

Adrien Van Beveren 42: “I pushed a lot at the beginning and then I jumped really high in a dune and that was like a joker. It was kind of scary. I was trying to go fast but safe at the same time but that was not easy, due to the many drops in the dunes. Overall we are in the same position. I think this is my best Dakar, with a very solid performance. There is still one more day to go so let’s fight until the end. ”

Pablo Quintanilla 7: “This was a quite fun stage to ride, with many dunes. I was riding with a good rhythm from the beginning and overall it was a good stage. One more day to go and I know I gave everything in each stage, so that is the way I plan to keep until the last kilometer .”

José Ignacio Cornejo 11: “I knew this was going to be a difficult day, because I had to open the stage. We lost some time like normal, I did the best I could so it was not so bad. I was feeling good and I am glad all my teammates could also return safely to the bivouac. Now let’s continue and give all we can in the last stage ”

Source Monster Energy Honda Team

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Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - Isidre Esteve overcomes the last sandy difficulties of the Dakar 2023

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  • The Spanish team decided to slow down and not take any risks in view of the difficult terrain of the 13th stage, full of very soft sand dunes and with a relief that was very difficult to interpret.
  • On a day more suited to light buggies than cars, the Repsol Toyota Rally Team finished in 20th place in T1 and 40th scratch, a result that allows them to regain another position in the general standings.
  • "It was hard to distinguish the terrain just ahead of you, which made me a bit dizzy, so we opted for caution. The best thing is that we are now at the last bivouac and ready to face the last stage of the rally".

Isidre Esteve and Txema Villalobos have completed the last 153 timed kilometers on sand and dunes of the Dakar 2023 in a strategic way and with the real goal of completing the event in mind. On a terrain more suitable for light buggies than for cars, the Repsol Toyota Rally Team crew found a safe pace to finish the day without any incidents or surprises in 20th position in T1 and 40th scratch. In the overall standings they gain one more place and now occupy 34th overall and 24th in the T1 car section.

The road map of the day announced a reduced mileage, but Isidre Esteve and Txema Villalobos did not take long to discover the difficulties: "The hard track was almost nonexistent throughout the special, it was only reduced to the last 4 kilometers. The remaining 149 were marked on sand and dunes, and although the route was not as complicated as yesterday, the surface was very soft", said the driver from Lleida.

In a terrain so suitable for buggies and side-by-sides, as demonstrated in the final classification, there was a second trap that Esteve reveals: "We went as fast as we could, but the biggest complication was that the relief was not well distinguishable. The sand was a pinkish color and you couldn't make out what was right in front of the car. This feeling was a bit complicated for me, because it made me a bit dizzy, so in agreement with Txema we opted for caution and slowed down a bit. The best news is that we are on our way to the last bivouac and we are ready to face the last special stage to finish the Dakar".

Stage 14 will link Al-Hofuf and Dammam with a 136-kilometer special stage along the coast of the Arabian Gulf. A fast and spectacular route to say goodbye to one of the most difficult editions of the Dakar Rally in recent years.


Automatic translation from the original Spanish version available on www.todoterreno.pt
Source Repsol Rally Team

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Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - Joan Font already has a glimpse of the Dakar finish line

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  • The FN Speed rider has got through the penultimate stage of the toughest rally in the world without any setbacks.
  • The driver from Vic and his co-driver Themis Lopez finished 22nd in T3 in a special stage entirely over dunes and remains 16th overall.
  • "The mechanics are very tired and it's a matter of regulating to the maximum to reach the objective, which is to finish and work at full speed for the team".

Penultimate challenge, overcome. Joan Font has completed without setbacks the 13th stage of the Dakar, which this Saturday took the survivors from Shaybah to Al-Hofuf, very close to the finish in Dammam, on the shores of the Persian Gulf. The penultimate special stage consisted of 153 kilometers in the desert. After 3 hours and 17 minutes surfing in the dunes, Font and Themis Lopez finished in a positive 22nd position in the T3 category, 36 minutes behind the day's winner. In the general classification of the light prototypes, the FN Speed Team team is in an excellent 16th place.

Although at first glance the special stage may have seemed easy due to its contained mileage, the terrain made it very complicated. For the fourth consecutive day, the stage was pure desert. "You shouldn't think that 150 kilometers is not enough, because it was all dunes. There are 150 kilometers of dunes; you leave one and join another, and that makes progress slow and difficult," explains Font. In addition, the riders then had to tackle a long 500-kilometer liaison to Al-Hofuf, which brought the total distance of the day to almost 700 kilometers.

A considerable beating for mechanics already very punished, after two weeks of competition (the prologue stage was disputed two Saturdays ago). "The mechanics are very tired and, at this stage of the race, it's all about regulating to the maximum to reach the goal, which is to finish and always working at full speed for the team", says the Doga, Racing Oil and FN Speed rider. "But we already see the light at the end of the race", dares to venture the Catalan rider, convinced and confident of stepping on the podium with his Aragonese co-driver Themis Lopez, at the wheel of the Can-Am Maverick number 318.

Before that, however, he will have to overcome the last stage of the toughest rally in the world, which this Sunday will take the caravan from Al-Hofuf to the long-awaited finish in Dammam. On the menu for the day is a final 138-kilometer special stage. At first glance, it also looks short and easy, but the Dakar demands maximum concentration right to the end.


Automatic translation from the original Spanish version available on www.todoterreno.pt
Source FN Speed Team

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Dakar 2023: Stage 13 - Tim and Tom through monotonous stage unscathed

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The participants in the Dakar Rally 2023 have now had so many dunes in a few days’ time that it became a bit boring. Dunes were also the case in the thirteenth stage. “The same sand, the same dunes. 150 kilometers up, down, up, down. It became a bit monotonous,” said Tom Coronel.

Brother Tim agreed with that. “Bouncing and bumping all the way.” While doing so, Tim and Tom rode the 22nd time in the stage that led the participants out of the Empty Quarter, back into the inhabited world. “Super nice”, Tim thought, “but I’ve had enough of it. We have not taken any risks today and kept the focus on the finish. We saw some people taking the wrong direction, or lying on their roof, including Brian Baragwanath. So that was an extra warning to keep concentrated, no matter how monotonous.”

The dunes in the stage to Al Hofuf were high and soft, but not very difficult. “There were two climbs you had to prepare well, especially with the tire pressure,” Tom said. “We got through without any problems, we never got stuck. We only lost some time because we were stuck behind an SSV. At a certain point we decided not to bother, but just stay behind it.”

At the finish of the special stage, after 153 kilometers, Tim and Tom saw that the CV joint leaked some fat. “We have repaired that with duct tape and tiewraps, hoping that it will last for 500 kilometers.” That was the distance from the finish to the bivouac in Al Hofuf; the last bivouac of this Dakar. Tomorrow there will be a stage of 136 kilometers on the program and then the finish line in Damman awaits


Source Coronel Dakar Team

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Dakar 2023: Video - Stage 12 highlights

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Loeb is a serial winner

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  • Dakar 2023 | Stage 12 | EMPTY QUARTER MARATHON > SHAYBAH

The Empty Quarter continues to reveal its identity. The immense desert that plays host to most of the oil deposits exploited in Saudi Arabia is also a special playground for rally-raid riders and drivers to express themselves. The expanses of dunes discovered by the Dakar this year have few equivalents on the surface of the planet. However, the 185-km programme for the special was not restricted to the tricky exercise of overcoming the dunes, because when the route crossed the chotts it allowed the competitors to push the pace of their vehicles to the limits. It was certainly thanks to his technique acquired in the dunes of the Atacama Desert in Chile that Nacho Cornejo achieved the day’s victory on his bike. Sébastien Loeb, who put in another faultless performance among the mountains of sand made the difference thanks to his great strength: he goes for it like nobody else.

The pressure has been cranked up a notch. After a long stay by Skyler Howes on top of the general rankings, in a scenario which briefly also saw Mason Klein dominate the category, now one of the “old hands” has taken command of the Dakar. Toby Price has not progressed as quietly as it seems since the start, given that he won the prologue at Sea Camp. Nonetheless, the Australian has remained calmly ready to pounce until it was time to take over, a task which he carried out without a fanfare, thanks to the third best time on the day’s special, though such understatement should not disturb him too much since he has proved himself to be an ultra-credible winner with three days to go. Price will need all his experience and composure to successfully complete this rush towards Dammam, with a lead of only 28’’ over Skyler Howes and 2’40’’ over his team-mate Kevin Benavides. The taste of victory is becoming more distinct for KTM, which had not placed an orange bike on top of the podium since Price’s victory in 2019. The Honda team will have savoured the taste of stage success enjoyed by Nacho Cornejo on the way back to Shaybah, but it will no doubt be somewhat bittersweet in light of the slump by Adrien Van Beveren (to 5th, more than 16 minutes from the lead), even if provisional 4th place went to his team-mate Pablo Quintanilla, who trails the leader by 14’54’’. In the car category, it is not a matter of seconds, but instead dozens of minutes, especially in the Toyota of Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel, whose vision is impeccable but who can barely make out the silhouette of a BRX Hunter in their rear-view mirror, timed at 1 hour 27 minutes behind. Nevertheless, Sébastien Loeb showed panache to take second place in the general rankings (see stat of the day). With his sixth stage victory this year, he sauntered past Brazilian Lucas Moraes, who is now third in the Dakar car hierarchy for his first participation, which is worthy of a fine festival of samba and caipirinha on his return to Rio if he can hold on to his position until Sunday. In the T3 category, Austin Jones can look towards Dammam with the same serenity as Nasser Al Attiyah, because he also has a lead of more than an hour over his team-mate Seth Quintero. Alexandre Giroud is another competitor taking it easy, focused on defending his title with a margin of 59 minutes. However, there is still a match to be fought in the T4 race between Eryk Goczał and Rokas Baciuška. The Lithuanian world number one increased his lead in the general rankings to 8 minutes, but the newcomer from the Polish clan could still take inspiration from his uncle Michacwho won the day’s special (see performance of the day). In the truck race, the general rankings leader Janus Van Kasteren took care to increase the gap he possesses over Martin van den Brink. In the Dutch duel, the Team De Rooy driver may have scored decisive points and can look to the horizon of the Arabian Gulf with a lead of 33 minutes.

With eight victories between them last year, Marek and Michał had already demonstrated that the Goczał clan were a force to be reckoned with. However, several minor mistakes deprived them of a final podium finish. As a result, they decided to do it all over again for the 45th edition of the Dakar with the firm intention of doing better and succeeding Austin Jones on the throne of the SSV category. To stack the odds in their favour, they enlisted another family member, Marek's son Eryk. It only took two specials for the youngest of the three drivers to triumph and break the record for youngest stage winner held until then by Seth Quintero. Marek won the following day and the two Poles soon became the main rivals for Rokas Baciuška in the fight for the title. As for Michał, he had a rockier ride, meeting with misfortune on several occasions, but that did not dampen his thirst for victory, because today he picked up his first stage success of the year. As a result, not one, not two, but three members of the Goczał family have climbed onto the highest step of the podium on this 45th edition of the Dakar, which is unprecedented. It just goes to show that Friday the 13th can be lucky for some, even in Poland.

For his second Dakar, there were great expectations for Mason Klein, who was the best rookie in 2022 with a 9th-placed finish at the tender age of 20-years-old. For his debut in the RallyGP class this year, the BAS World KTM Racing privateer rider, who is the Austrian’s protégé, left his mark by taking command of the general rankings on stage one. Some observers could already sense a phenomenon who was going to defy all the statistics concerning precociousness on the race. At the rest day, the kid was in 3rd place in the general rankings, forcing other onlookers who had only seen him as a flash in the pan to adjust their opinions. However, the start of the second week of racing brought the prodigy back to earth with a bump, and quite literally: Mason fell twice on stage 9. The entrance into the Empty Quarter went untroubled the following day, but over the last two days it has, quite like the lie of the land, been ups and downs for Mason, as the dunes have given his neck a rough time. An X-ray at the bivouac on completion of the marathon stages did not reveal anything abnormal with the kid, but the ocean of sand plunged rider number 9 into 42nd place on the day. This evening, Klein is 10th in the general rankings. He has taken the decision to tackle the sea of dunes again tomorrow, despite the stormy outcome for him, in order to reach the Arabian Gulf, as he experiences the first bump in the road on his meteoric rise.

boucou 13 1 w

The strength of Sébastien Loeb is no secret. It is difficult to compete with the nine times winner of the WRC in terms of pure speed. When everything is on song, the BRX driver is unbeatable. However, the Frenchman is also renowned for being too greedy at times, which pushes him a bit too often into committing mistakes. Something has changed this year. The faultless performance by the Loeb-Lurquin duo has now extended over five consecutive days (admittedly around the rest day in Riyadh), with five stage victories in a row: such a series has only previously been achieved by Ari Vatanen among the elite car drivers, on the Dakar in 1989. It is also the Frenchman’s sixth success on a special in 2023 and his 22nd in total, part of a collection he commenced in 2016, which now puts him above Pierre Lartigue. Even though he opened the way for the cars today, Loeb quite simply left his rivals in his wake, with his nearest pursuer, Mattias Ekström, beaten by more than three minutes. To reach the finishing line, the crew of Hunter # 201 took a little more than 1 hour and 56 minutes at an average speed of 95 kmph, almost 9 kmph more than his “prey” on the day, namely Lucas Moraes, from whom he snatched second place in the general rankings.

Today, Sébastien Loeb equalled the record for consecutive stage victories previously held by Ari Vatanen (see stat of the day), a distraction from the fact that in the W2RC classification he is only 1 point behind Nasser Al Attiyah… with two stages still to go. Tomorrow, the Frenchman could beat the Finnish driver’s record and write another page in the history of the Dakar. This would also be a way for the Frenchman to settle the score he has with Nasser Al Attiyah in the world championship. “More haste, less speed,” is an adage from Jean de la Fontaine’s fables that is taught to all children in France’s schools. Loeb is preparing to apply this lesson to the letter, though given his recent performances to pick up the points, both parts of the saying could be said to be true!

EIn 1984, for the 5th edition of the Paris-Dakar, Porsche was the first constructor to develop a car especially designed for victory, the legendary 911 type 953, with three models enrolled, two aiming for victory in the hands of Ickx and Metge and a third for the rapid assistance team driven by engineer Roland Kussmaul. On the Dakar Classic, a replica of the victorious Porsche is taking part with the Logistic Rallye team. A second Porsche inspired by the Martini version from the East Safari years, the historical copy of the 953 to be precise, is taking part alongside. A Peugeot 504, a Cox and a Strakit buggy are also present. What do the team’s cars have in common? They are all 2WD! As in the old days, Rudy Verdaguer, head of the French structure, is driving a fast assistance vehicle himself, a 4x4 to come to the aid of those marooned on two wheels if necessary, but not just any old 4X4: a VW Transporter T3, commonly known as the “Combi”, to stay in the spirit of his team and his personal tastes. The darling of the beatniks of the early Paris-Dakar era has become the darling of this third edition of the Dakar Classic, drawing plenty of admiration!

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Source: A.S.O. / Dakar Rally

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