Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Austin Jones strengthens his lead

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With only two days to go in the 2023 edition of Dakar Rally, Austin Jones and Gustavo Gugelmin further strengthened their lead in the T3 category. The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team crew had a smooth run in the second part of the marathon stage and clocked the 5th time in the special stage, increasing their lead in the overall classification to over an hour over their closest rival.

“I just finished up stage number 12 out here at the Dakar. The second half of the last marathon day was really good. We had a good time on the marathon day last night, set up the tents, everybody staying in tents and hanging out, it was really cool. And then today's stage, it was pretty fast with a lot of chotts. Mostly just kind of pulling gas all day, but some of the dune crossings that we had to go through were really tough like level three, level two, out of that kind of stuff. So if you weren't careful, you could get stuck or have a real issue. We did a decent job, I think we're P5 in the stage today and we gained more time on the lead. Now I think our gap to second place is about an hour and five minutes or something like that. So, next two days, just keep everything going the way it is and try to bring this one home,”
Austin Jones said after finishing the marathon stage.

“We just finished the marathon stage. It was two days out there. It was night sleeping in the tent. No Wi Fi, no internet, nothing. So it was really good talk to friends, old friends, new friends. So it was a pleasure to be in the marathon stage. The car runs perfectly, we’ve brought it home. We're leading by an hour and now it's changed our mind, our heart. We were like taking more care of the car on the dunes. Two more days almost in the end. Let's keep doing like this and it's going to be perfect for us,”
co-driver Gustavo Gugelmin said before the penultimate stage of the 2023 Dakar Rally.

Text: Rita Kónya
Interviews: Sveta Amelichkina
Photos: MCH

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Toby Price regains Dakar Rally lead with third-placed result on stage 12

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Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has retaken the lead of the 2023 Dakar Rally following a strong ride to third place on stage 12 – the second leg of the event’s Empty Quarter marathon stage. Kevin Benavides placed fifth to successfully retain his third-place position in the overall rally standings, less than three minutes behind Price. Completing today’s special just seconds ahead of Benavides, Matthias Walkner carved his way through to fourth place on his KTM 450 RALLY.

Completing the second leg of the marathon stage without issue, Toby Price covered the 185-kilometer timed special on stage 12 in just under two hours. More importantly, Toby not only made up time on his closest rivals in the race for victory, but he also regained the overall rally lead and will have two other riders to chase down on tomorrow’s penultimate stage 13.

Racing at the front of the field remains incredibly close with Toby leading the general rankings by a narrow margin of just under 30 seconds. The two-time Dakar champion will draw on all his experience and skill to ensure good, solid finishes over the final two stages of the race as he has his sights set firmly on securing his third title at the world’s toughest rally-raid.

Toby Price:The marathon stage has gone well. I have to admit, I didn’t sleep that well yesterday, but I gave it my all out there on the dunes. I wasn’t sure of the result when I came in to the finish today, but it looks like I’m back on top, leading the race. It’s a really close race right now and even the smallest problem could cost you the win. My plan is to keep on pushing over the next two days and try and have some fun.”

Securing a solid fifth-place finish on stage 12, Kevin Benavides closed the gap slightly on the provisional rally lead and remains in third place overall, two minutes and 40 seconds down. The Argentine racer will also have the advantage of another four riders starting ahead of him on tomorrow’s special where he will aim to make up as much time as possible before then attacking the final stage of the race on Sunday.

Kevin Benavides:The marathon stage went really well for me. Both halves were made up mostly of dunes, so they were a real challenge, but good fun to ride, too. Today I started a little further back, so I tried to keep a good flow through the dunes to make up some time without making any big mistakes. I think I did a good job, and I have got a good start position for tomorrow, which I think will be a really decisive stage in the race.”

Enjoying his time in the Empty Quarter dunes, Matthias Walkner found the terrain very much to his liking. And, feeling comfortable on his KTM 450 RALLY, was able to push hard through the stage to finish in an excellent fourth place. Currently in ninth position overall, although the fight for the podium might now be out of reach for the Austrian, Matthias will continue to fight for solid stage results, giving his all as usual on what is his ninth Dakar appearance.

Matthias Walkner: “It was a super-nice stage today. Honestly, the dunes here in the Empty Quarter are really, really nice. It was quite intense, not so long, but with all the soft sand you have to push a lot and it’s still very physical. As we ride more here it becomes easier to judge and read the terrain. Nacho (Cornejo) caught me today and it was such good fun riding through the dunes together. With only two days of the rally left now, my goal is to simply have fun, do my best, and reach the finish line safely. I plan to enjoy it!”

Stage 13, the penultimate of the rally, will see riders cover a total distance of 675 kilometers as they travel from Shaybah to Al Hofuf. A short timed special of 154 kilometers through the dunes will test competitors’ physical and mental endurance once again.

Provisional Results – 2023 Dakar Rally, Stage 12

1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI), Honda, 1:57:27
2. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 1:58:16 +0:49
3. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 1:59:25 +1:58
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 1:59:32 +2:05
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 1:59:49 +2:22

Provisional Standings – 2023 Dakar Rally (after 12 of 14 stages)

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 40:47:36
2. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 40:48:04 +0:28
3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 40:50:16 +2:40
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 41:02:30 +14:54
5. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 41:03:50 +16:14
Other KTM
9. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 41:32:00 +44:24
10. Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 41:42:34 +54:58

Source: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Joan Font comes out of the Empty Quarter intact

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  • The driver from Vic and Themis López complete the second part of the marathon stage in the immense Saudi desert without setbacks.
  • The Can-Am number 318 of the FN Speed Team maintains an excellent 16th position overall in T3 (light prototypes).
  • "We had to overcome very high dunes, some of the most difficult I've ever seen, taking care of the mechanics as much as possible."

The Dakar is not over until it's over, but Joan Font continues to overcome all the challenges of the toughest rally in the world and is steadily approaching the long-awaited finish in Dammam. The rider from Vic has completed without setbacks the penultimate stage of the race, with a 185-kilometer special stage in the Empty Quarter, in the middle of the Saudi desert. After 3 hours and 15 minutes in the dunes, the FN Speed Team rider and Themis Lopez finished 30th in the T3 category (light prototypes), 57 minutes behind the leader. In the overall standings, they maintain an excellent 16th place.

Friday's route was the second part of the marathon stage and took the participants back to Shaybah, after having entered the immense Rub al-Jali desert, better known as the "empty place". Circumstances made Font take extreme precautions to reach the finish line in one piece. "We came from a stage without assistance and we had to take care of the mechanics as much as possible. It was the second day without having been able to overhaul the car and we were very vigilant, taking special care to maintain a regular pace", he explains.

However, the terrain didn't make it easy: "It was a very complicated stage. We had to overcome very high dunes, some of the most difficult I've ever seen. They were so high that it was difficult to climb them with the side-by-side," Font said. It was not easy to achieve the delicate balance between the necessary speed to overcome the obstacles and the caution needed to avoid overtaxing the mechanics, but the Catalan driver and his Aragonese co-driver have succeeded: the Can-Am Maverick number 318 with the colors of Doga, Racing Oil and FN Speed is in Shaybah and, as if that were not enough, very well placed in the classification of its category.

With less than 300 timed kilometers to go before the end of the Dakar 2023, the goal is close, but it is not a good idea to let your guard down. For the moment, this Saturday's penultimate stage includes a short 153-kilometer special stage, still in the desert (south of Shaybah), followed by a long liaison of more than 500 kilometers to Al-Hofuf.

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

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Friday the 13th brought Aliyyah Koloc a top 10 finish

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Debutant Aliyyah Koloc scored her second top 10 finish in the T3 - Lightweight Prototypes category in what is her first Dakar. The 18-year-old was 10th today, moving up to thirty-second overall. Josef Machacek finished 23rd today and remains 11th overall.

Despite the fact that she is a newcomer to the Dakar Rally and is only eighteen, Aliyyah Koloc is driving like a seasoned pro throughthe Saudi Arabian desert. On today's stage she left behind names like Red Bull stars Seth Quintero from the USA and Chilean three-time Dakar winner Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez. "We treated the car well yesterday, so we went into the second part of the marathon stage without any major technical problems. I tried to go faster today. I really love the dunes, I felt great in the car. I feel like it was my best day of the Dakar so far. I am happy," said the young driver. It also helped that she slept well in the makeshift bivouac between the two parts of the marathon stage. "If there is nothing wrong with your car, the marathon stage is really great fun. I also got to enjoy the job of a mechanic a little bit as I had to attend the Can-Am service in the evening," Aliyyah Koloc explainedwith a laugh.

Josef Machacek understood the magic of today's date at the start. "On Friday the 13th, they started our stage by checking the flame retardant underwear and I wore my old socks. So I had to go back to get the right ones. After the start, our engine went on two cylinders. We had to come back from the first dune, stop and fix it. We fixed one coil and went for a drive," the six-time Dakar champion described his difficult day. "After about two kilometres we hit the front of the car really hard. Fortunately, that was our last problem today and then we drove as fastas we could. It was very difficultbut we really like it," said a satisfied Josef Machacek.

Navigator David Schovánek had only words of praise for his pilot: "Today was really challenging. Long dunes, high, hard. We had some critical moments. We had to go down, turn around and go up again. But Pepa handled everything beautifully and the two of us put it together nicely."


Source Buggyra Team

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Juniors hold first and second place overall as 2023 Dakar Rally heads into the home straight  

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With more than 4,000 racing kilometres done at the 2023 Dakar Rally, the T3 rankings are being dominated by the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BFGoodrich. Following another win on Stage 12 to add to the team’s collection, the young squad hold the top two spots in the T3 category’s general classification.

Huge amounts of skill and patience have been demonstrated by driver AJ Jones behind the wheel of his Can-Am Maverick. The 26-year-old Arizonian moved himself into second overall as far back as Stage Five. Jones then spent a week hunting down the race leader and pounced when the opportunity presented itself on Stage 11.

“Our plan before this rally was to make sure we did our own race. I’m not the most experienced at this rally, but I do have some. I’ve also been learning from the best around.”AJ Jones

Jones won the T4 category at last year’s Dakar alongside his Brazilian co-driver Gustavo Gugelmin. Now the pair hold a lead of over an hour from their nearest T3 competitor. The duo have given themselves every chance of victory, but are taking nothing for granted with two stages left to race.

“Things can change quickly at the Dakar. We’ll do our best to stay on point on the last two stages because nothing is over until the very last kilometre has been raced.”AJ Jones

Occupying second place overall after Stage 12 is Jones’s fellow Junior Team driver Seth Quintero. The 20-year-old has shown mental resilience well beyond his age to battle through every moment of adversity that has been thrown at him during this Dakar.

“There’s been hardships and heartbreaks along the way. We did so well on the first four stages this year, but then we ran out of fuel one day and that cost us a couple of hours. So to be here in P2 now with two days to go feels good.”Seth Quintero

Quintero and co-driver Dennis Zenz are now on the verge of grabbing their first overall podium finish at the Dakar. However, such is the competitive nature of the pair they will not give up on first place until the chequered flag has fallen in Dammam on Sunday.

“We’re still an hour off P1 so there’s a lot of work to do there… if there’s even a chance for us. We’re going to keep fighting no matter what.” – Seth Quintero

There’s few race crews who have experienced the unique ups and downs of the Dakar quite like the third Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BFGoodrich duo at this rally. The all-American pair of Mitch Guthrie Jr. and co-driver Kellon Walch set the fastest T3 time for the fourth time during this Dakar on Stage 12. Unfortunately their latest stage win does little to move them up the general rankings due to the significant time losses they suffered on a couple of earlier stages.

“We’ve had ups and downs throughout this Dakar. We’ve had four stage wins so far and also two days with issues that took us out of the fight for the overall. I’m happy with what we’ve been able to do, at one point we were leading the overall.”Mitch Guthrie Jr.

Guthrie Jr.’s stage wins have demonstrated the performance of his T3-M by MCE5 machine. The 26-year-old Californian is playing a key part in helping the team to develop a vehicle to race in the T3-U (Ultimate) category at next year’s Dakar.

With just two stages left at the 2023 Dakar it’s a time for cool heads as the young squad of drivers look to bring home the team’s first-ever overall victory at the world’s most brutal rally. It would be an historic result and the latest achievement in the program’s short but distinguished story of giving talented, young and hungry drivers their shot at competing against the best in the most prestigious off-road events around the globe.

Selected T3 Results on Stage 12
1. Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA)/Kellon Walch (USA) MCE5 02:17:11
2. Ignacio Casale (CHL)/Alvaro Leon (CHL) YAMAHA +00:29
3. Guillaume De Mevius (BEL)/François Cazalet (FRA) OT3 +00:52
5. AJ Jones (USA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) CAN-AM +03:21
13. Seth Quintero (USA)/Dennis Zenz (GER) CAN-AM +12:04

Selected T3 Overall after Stage 12
1. AJ Jones (USA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) CAN-AM 47:39:47
2. Seth Quintero (USA)/Dennis Zenz (GER) CAN-AM +01:04:37
3. Guillaume De Mevius (BEL)/François Cazalet (FRA) OT3 +01:25:50
24. Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA)/Kellon Walch (USA) MCE5 +27:54:43

Source: Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA
Flavien Duhamel / Red Bull Content Pool

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing's Daniel Sanders delivers incredible performance

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  • Back-to-back runner-up stage finishes for Chucky
  • Sanders easily the star performer throughout the marathon stage
  • Only two days and 290 kilometers of racing against the clock to go!

Delivering what just might be his best performance of the entire Dakar Rally on today’s stage 12, Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Daniel Sanders combined pinpoint navigation with his blistering pace to post the second fastest time. Clocking in just 49 seconds from victory, it was an incredible performance considering that Chucky opened almost all of the special, which left wheel tracks in the dunes for his chasing rivals to follow. Impressive stuff indeed and a clear indication of just what the Aussie’s capable of out there in the desert. Nice work, Daniel!

Daniel Sanders: “Yeah, today was pretty good actually. It was a fun stage and early on I caught up with Luciano Benavides. I had a decent pace going so I kept that up and opened the stage all day. I’m happy to reach the finish line today with it being the second leg of the marathon stage and I’m looking forward to the final two days.”

Second away into leg two of the marathon stage, it should have been a tall order for Sanders to secure another top-three result as it’s quite common for leading riders to lose time to their competition. However, the RX 450F racer left that theory somewhere out there in the Empty Quarter on stage 12!

Moving past Luciano Benavides early on in the 185-kilometer special, our man from down under never let off the gas to safely reach the finish and narrowly missed out on another stage win. Heading into tomorrow’s penultimate stage 13, we’re excited to see what Daniel can do from the front again as the times at the top of the overall classification are starting to get tight!

Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2023, stage 12
1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 1:57:27
2. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 1:58:16
3. Toby Price (KTM) 1:59:25

Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 12)
1. Toby Price (KTM) 40:47:36
2. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 40:48:04
3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 40:50:16
7. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 41:07:39

Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Stage win for Nacho Cornejo

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José Ignacio Cornejo was the man of the day during the second part of the marathon stage at the Empty Quarter. This was the second stage victory for Monster Energy Honda Team during this Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. On the arrival at Shaybah bivouac, the Chilean was 49 seconds faster than Daniel Sanders and had  1:48 minutes to Toby Price.
Stage number 12 was 185 km long and a quite fast route, in a mix between dunes and quick sand tracks. Pablo Quintanilla arrived in seventh position with a gap of 03:06 minutes, while Adrien Van Beveren was ninth with a gap of 03:16 minutes to Nacho. Quintanilla kept his fourth position in the overall standings (14:45 minutes to the leader), Van Beveren maintained his fifth position (16:14 minutes to the leader) and Nacho was still eighth (23:14 minutes to the leader).
Now it’s time to work hard on the Honda’s CRF 450 Rally, since they were lacking assistance for the past two days due to the rules of the marathon stage.
With only two more days to go, tomorrow it’s time for the 13th stage. There will be a very long liaison of 520 kilometers in the connection between Shaybah and Al-Hofuf. The special section will be 153 km long and this departure from the Empty Quarter will certainly be decisive. It will be the last chance to surf on its chain of dunes and also to fight for the top standings. It will be a short but quite intense ride where physical and mechanical endurance can play an important role.
Ruben Faria - General Manager: “The marathon stage is over and we have overcome with great determination the hard terrain at the Empty Quarter. All our riders got back safe and our Honda's CRF 450 Rally also came back in great conditions and will now be revised for the penultimate stage. Days will get shorter in terms of racing as we reach the end of this Dakar Rally and tomorrow is another decisive day for us. We are fighting to climb in the top standings and that was clear today. Nacho had a great performance and we are happy with another stage win. The team is united and strong so let’s see how it goes in these last two days. ”
José Ignacio Cornejo  11: “Well today I had a good stage, quite solid. Felt quite good on my Honda CRF 450 Rally and tried to push as much as I could. I had a lot of fun in the dunes. I have won a stage and that feels good, especially for my confidence. This did not influence the overall results due to the short distances between all contenders, so I kept my eighth place. I will keep fighting in the last two days because this is Dakar and anything can happen. ”
Pablo Quintanilla  7: “First of all I would like to say that we have done the marathon stage without any problems in our Honda CRF 450 Rally. It was quite hard to cross the Empty Quarter and we all succeeded. The terrain was super hard for the machines and for us. Happy to finish one more day. The race is not over yet so let's keep the focus.”
Adrien Van Beveren  42: “Today I started behind but did not have that much dunes to race. The stage was shorter and I went as fast as I could go. Dakar is never finished until you cross the line so let’s see what we can do. I will do my best until the last meter, that is for sure!”
Source   Monster Energy Honda Team
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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Martin van den Brink bows his head to technology.

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Technical problems affect the Harskamper.

The battle for the victory in the Dakar truck category seems to have been decided early today. Martin van den Brink had some setbacks and lost more than half an hour. “Unfortunate, but glad we arrived in the bivouac.”
Teammate Janus van Kasteren won the stage. Boss Machinery Team De Rooy Iveco started the last two stages in Saudi Arabia with a lead of more than 33 minutes.
After yesterday’s win, the advancement in the general ranking and the loss of time for Van Kasteren, today everything was exactly the opposite. Martin van den Brink opened the stage from the marathon bivouac to Shaybah with a time gap of 1 minute and 12 seconds.
The 52-year-old Harskamper in the Iveco Powerstar of Eurol Team De Rooy Iveco wanted to continue the attack on leader Van Kasteren. However, the team of Martin, Erik Kofman and Richard Mouw soon ran into problems.

“The gearbox didn’t shift higher than fourth gear. With the gear lever in neutral, the gearbox stayed in “drive”. We couldn’t go faster than 90 kilometers per hour. We also had to reset the engine a few times, which went into safety mode and, moreover, a tire came off. Too bad we lost time, but we’re glad we made it through the dunes and arrived in the bivouac. That’s just the way it is. Tomorrow is a new day.”

With today’s victory, Janus van Kasteren is getting close to the overall victory in this Dakar Rally. The pilot from Veldhoven, the Netherlands, starts the final weekend with a lead of 33 minutes and 3 seconds. However, the experienced Martin van den Brink never gives up. “We will do our best again tomorrow. Nothing is certain in the Dakar Rally and we will continue to fight until the last meter.”

“Stuck on a high dune”
Yesterday, son Mitchel van den Brink had problems with the turbo on therefor had to start today far behind father Martin and teammate Janus van Kasteren. The young Harskamper limited the damage and finished second in the special over 185 kilometers. “We had a good pace,” the pilot said afterwards. “We just got stuck on a high dune. We lost a lot of time there. Ben van de Laar pulled us out and I am very happy about that. We couldn’t get out on our own. Given our pace and the time lost on that dune, we could certainly have gone for the stage win. Tomorrow there is a new opportunity and we will try to get a good result together with my father.”

The youngest pilot of Eurol Team De Rooy Iveco will again act as guide for his father. “We start in front of him but then wait for dad. Just like Thursday in the first part, we will take the lead and have him follow us closely. That also worked great yesterday. A nice example of cooperation,” says de Harskamper.

Fourth in standings
In the battle for fourth place, the 20-year-old rally driver did well today. Czech Jaroslav Valtr lost 2 hours and 28 minutes due to problems in the dunes of Saudi Arabia. Van den Brink junior is now fourth overall again.

Tomorrow the rally circus will head to Al-Hofuf. The special, with a last section of dunes, covers 154 kilometers. Sunday is the final stage of the 45th Dakar Rally and the participants will finish on the podium in Dammam after a special of 136 kilometers.


Source Eurol Rallysport

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - On Friday the 13th, Van Kasteren Jr. can't believe his luck!

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Janus van Kasteren jr., Marcel Snijders and Darek Rodewald started the twelfth stage with a minimal lead in the general classification of only 1 minute and 12 seconds. Boss Machinery Team De Rooy Iveco was the fourth truck to start the 185-kilometre special stage. In line with the past few days, this special stage also takes you through The Empty Quarter with its almost endless sand plains and dune areas.

Even the large Iveco Powerstar can become a small Dinky Toy in that imposing environment. Everyone in the bivouac seems to agree that the Dakar belongs in these areas. The soft sand makes the highest dunes almost impossible hurdles to overcome. Here, on Friday the thirteenth, Janus, Marcel and Darek find their happiness. The direct competitors are caught up and overtaken one by one. Technology, navigation and driving; everything went right today.

Fortunately, Janus jr. was able to report back to us soon after the stage today. The euphoria can be heard in his words: “Great day. We actually passed Martin at about twenty kilometers. After that it was really tough dunes. Heavy climbing. At one point we passed Macik and Gerard (de Rooy - red) was watching us and gave useful signals which helped us to reach the top of a dune. A super day and I think we made a good step towards the first place. Darek was very helpful too. You notice that he has sixteen years of experience and so does Marcel. A great team. Really nice. We are now on our way to the bivouac. It's our best Dakar day ever. We crossed the dunes full throttle.”

The result is devastatingly good. The two remaining competitors for the title had to give in more than half an hour to the unchained Van Kasteren jr. Teammate Martin van den Brink lost 31 minutes and 51 seconds and the Czech Martin Macik lost 32 minutes and 21 seconds. Mitchel van den Brink, who started later, clocked the second time of the day. This Team De Rooy pilot lost 18 minutes and 38 seconds to the winning truck of Boss Machinery Team De Rooy Iveco. In the general classification, Van Kasteren jr. increased his lead over Martin van den Brink to a comfortable 33 minutes and 3 seconds. Martin Macik follows at 1 hour 20 minutes and 7 seconds and thus occupies third place.

The first seven trucks in the daily result are all IVECO. That will certainly make the brand from Turin Italy proud. Tomorrow the participants will leave the Empty Quarter in a special stage of 154 kilometers. It will be the last chance to surf the dunes and force big changes in the standings. Today the three teams of Team De Rooy stood out. With a real 1-2-3 it leaves a great impression. Tomorrow Janus van Kasteren will give the maximum again on behalf of Boss Machinery Team De Rooy Iveco in search of even greater happiness!

Source Boss Machinery Team De Rooy Iveco

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Valtr and Šoltys helped each other out of trouble, Kasák also took part in the rescue operation

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The "cursed date" of Friday the 13th fortunately only came half true for the Buggyra ZM Racing team on today's 12th stage of the Dakar. While both of the Buggyra Can-Am DV 21 crews completed the second part of the marathon stage without any issues, Jaroslav Valtr and Martin Šoltys had some back luck in the dunes of the tricky Empty Quarter desert today.Jaroslav Valter stalled in the dunes which meant only a 13th place in today’s stage, making him fifth overall. Martin Šoltys is right behind him in the overall standings despite experiencing some issues today. He finished the stage with the 15th best time. Robert Kasák is one place behind Šoltys in the daily standings and 15th overall. In theDakar Classic category, Radovan Kazarka came fifth, he is third overall.

Jaroslav Valtr knew from the morning that something was going to happen. "I gotup in the morning, looked at my phone and saw it was Friday the 13th. So I think to myself: That’s not good." And unfortunately, he was right. "We got to about kilometer 15 when we hit the dunes. I saw Van Kasteren struggling there, so I went carefully. I found a way that he seemed to have taken, and somehow he managed to get through that little hole in the sand. It was awfully narrow and I fell down in it. I had to wait for about half an hour until Martin Soltys arrived. Then we went for it. Robo Kasák came too, so we pulled the Tatra with two trucks. We set it up, pulled it out and drove on. After another 30 km or so we saw Soltys on the highest dune. It was now his turn to have put his truck on the side. We didn't do too well today. But then we droveuntil the end without any problems," Jaroslav Valtr described hisdramatic day.

His team-mate Martin Šoltys was not happy at the end of the stage either, because he had to put his Tatra back on to its wheels twice. "I am angry with myself. I made two big mistakes today today. That’s more than in the last six years combined," said the Tatra Buggyra ZM Racing driver angrily. "We started off pretty well. At about kilometer 40, three people waved at us and I didn't see any cars. It was only when we got closer that I saw that Jarda Valtr had fallen into a hole. You couldn't see the car at all. We fought it for an hour or two, I am not sure. It was difficult to get the car out in the heat, but Robo Kasák helped us," he said, describing how he helped his Buggyra team-mate.

Then Šoltys himself got into trouble. "We continued. But as I was tired and probably not concentrating properly, we drove up a big dune. As always, I tried to jump over it to the other side. I don't know what happened, but we just fell over the side. Unfortunately, it was a dune of about 200 meters high and we were stuck on top. When Jarda arrived, he pulled us up and back on to our wheels agao, so we could continue. We then set off after him, but after about 30 to 50 km there was a standard turn, and we fell in again. I was thinking: This can't even be possible. Another team helped us and then we somehow made it to the finish," said Šoltys.

According to him, his navigator Roman Krejčí deserves a lot of credit. "Roman is a terrible fighter. No matter what happens, he always wants to go forward. Without him, I don't know how it would have turned out. I was very tired physically and mentally today. It doesn't seem like it, but when the truck falls on to its side, it's very hard. Roman was the one who got us to get back in the truck and pushed us on again."

Róbert Kasák and his Phoenix did not stay away either and helped both Tatras back on their wheels. "It was challenging, but I quite enjoyed it. We did it, we are at the finish line. I just feel sorry for the guys that we had to pushthem back onto their wheels. But it happens. We lay down in the first part, they lay down in the second," said the Tatra Buggyra Slovakian pilot.

Source Buggyra Team

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - KH-7 Epsilon Team truck does a rollover and the team will have to spend the night in the dunes

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  •  The crew of the first vehicle in the history of the Dakar Rally that participates with hydrogen is well and has suffered no physical damage in the incident.
  • Jordi Juvanteny, José Luis Criado and Jordi Ballbé are waiting in the desert for the arrival of a truck from the organization, which is not expected before tomorrow.

The KH-7 Epsilon Team truck, the first in the history of the Dakar to compete powered by hydrogen, has overturned near kilometer 100 of the twelfth stage of the Dakar, which linked the Empty Quarter to Shaybah. At the moment, the crew is waiting in the desert for the arrival of the organization's broom truck, scheduled for tomorrow morning, to recover their vehicle and try to rejoin the race.

Fortunately, none of the members of the Spanish team, made up of driver Jordi Juvanteny, co-driver José Luis Criado and navigator Jordi Ballbé, were physically injured in the incident.

The excellent progress of the KH-7 Epsilon Team in the Dakar 2023 came to a sudden halt halfway through stage 12 as a result of a rollover in the middle of the complicated line of dunes that crossed the route of the rally. Something similar happened to several of the participants in the truck category on a particularly difficult day for them.

The standard bearer of the new Challenge New Energy division completed all the special stages without incident and at a good pace with his MAN powered by a diesel-hydrogen hybrid system developed by the company EVARM. In fact, at the end of yesterday's day, they had accumulated a total time that would place them in 16th place in the overall truck classification, in which they cannot be included due to FIA regulations.


Source KH-7 Epsilon Team

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Dakar 2023: Stage 12 - Igor Bouwens will spend a second night in the dunes

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It is Friday the 13th, also in the Dakar in Saudi Arabia. For the second time, Igor Bouwens has watched the sun set on the dunes of the Empty Quarter, the world's second largest desert after the Sahara. His truck is still in the same place. Repairs will continue through the coming night.
The Dakar only really begins when you have to give up, the cliché goes. The Gregoor Racing Team also experienced that. After giving up on Thursday - the truck was stuck in the dunes with a broken drive shaft - Igor Bouwens, Syndiely Wade and Ulrich Boerboom had to spend the night in the desert.

Friday morning at 4 a.m. Operation Salvage began: Gregoor, Benny, Boery, Theo, Walter and Marc began a 250-kilometer drive. Due east, facing the rising sun. Sunrise over the giant dunes of the Empty Quarter, a magnificent spectacle. After three hours of driving, it was broad daylight and they were at the border with Oman, 40 kilometers from Igor's Iveco T-Way. It didn't get any closer. The plan was to find a local driver with off-road knowledge and a decent pickup. He needed to get a new drive shaft and some mechanics up to Igor's place. But the Empty Quarter did not steal its name: it is empty, no people live there, and thus no pickups drive around. The only locals we encountered were Pakistanis working in gas and oil extraction. The competition trucks we met all had broken leaf springs and didn't want to go back into the dunes, happy to have gotten out after a long night.

But it's okay to be lucky. ASO, the organizer of the Dakar, was working to get the stranded vehicles from stage 11 out of the dunes. We managed to convince those in charge that truck number 534 no longer needed attention if it could get a cardan. After some persuasion, they were willing to use a helicopter to do so. Dimensions and weight of the universal joints were passed on and finally Alberto, the Italian pilot of the Ecureuil, had the last word. The jolly Alberto went for an espresso first, but then wanted to fly.
At that point, we didn't know which cardan was broken. The rear one is fairly easy to replace, the front one requires more and heavier work. We gave two pieces. But we did know that getting an extra mechanic on site would be helpful. After many fives and sixes, Alberto - and the Dakar course management - was willing to take Benny along. One condition: insurance-wise we were not allowed to have four in the race truck and so co-pilot Syndiely had to return with the helicopter. So player change as in soccer: Benny in, Syn out.

Benny had never flown in a helicopter before and was explained in a crash course how to kick out the door in case of a crash. If he stepped out after landing, the Ecureuil's propeller would still be turning. He had to duck and - very importantly - he had to keep the cardans horizontal. Otherwise it would spin in the soup above him... At 9 o'clock Benny, the cardans and some tools were with Igor, who still could not be reached by phone. Fifteen minutes later, Syndiely was with us.

Syn managed to tell us that the front cardan was the culprit. A setback: even with Benny there, Ulrich and Igor would have their hands full with the job, to be done in the loose sand, with limited tools and no jack. Second problem: if the truck got repaired, Igor still had to find a way out of the terrible dunes, without Syndiely's expert navigation, without a roadbook and without other trucks to pull them loose from the loose sand.

So we set out again anyway in search of a local rescue team. After a long search, we found it at the start of Friday's ride. A dune guide from Oman was there barefoot on a tour with two Danish tourists. He knew a colleague from Oman who could help. A phone call later, two guys showed up, also barefoot, with a Jeep Wrangler. In exchange for a full tank of gas they were willing to help us. Gasoline costs 57 cents per liter here.

Around noon, the five of them drove into the dunes: the two Omani in the Jeep, and Syndiely, Boery and Theo in our rental car, a Toyota Fortuner, loaded with some more tools. Gregoor, Walter and Marc stayed behind at the assistance truck.

After hours of waiting, lonely in the blazing sun in the now completely Empty Quarter (because the Dakar was, in the meantime, a long way away), they suddenly got in touch with Tom Colsoul, the man who makes the roadbook for ASO. The cars had reached the truck in the meantime, he knew, but a crucial key was missing: socket size 19. Normally not needed, but apparently with the new version of the cardan it is. A line through the bill. Hours of lost time, because the cars would have to drive back and forth, twice 40 kilometers through the toughest dunes.
Five to four by now. The sun was already turning red over the dunes when, above the peaks, a helicopter came flying in, tightly in our direction. In a huge cloud of dust, it landed next to our truck. A man wearing a yellow shirt with Dakar logos and inscription "medical" got out and walked crouched under the spinning propeller in our direction. "Allen 19 please." Touring Roadside Assistance is fast in Saudi Arabia. But just as quickly, the sun was sinking over the sand. For the second time already for Igor, Syndiely and Ulrich.

The state of play, at 6 p.m. local time near the Oman border: six men (and perhaps the two guides from Oman?) at the truck in the middle of giant dunes, with lots of work ahead, with food and drink, but only three tents and no phone coverage. 40 kilometers away, on a dried-up lake at the edge of the dunes: three men by the assistance truck, with no tent but food and drink, toilet, shower and 4G. Waiting for what is to come, whatever that may be.

More news as soon as we get it ourselves.


Automatic translation from the original Dutch version
Source Gregoor Racing Team

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