Dakar 2023: Joan Font's new Dakar adventure gets underway

Dakar 2023: Joan Font's new Dakar adventure gets underway

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  • The FN Speed driver completes the prologue stage with positive feelings at the wheel of his Can-Am Maverick.
  • The rider from Vic is back with the piloting of a 'side-by-side' almost four years later with his new co-driver, Themis Lopez from Huesca.
  • "It has been a good contact. We expect a long and tough rally, and we want to approach it from less to more".

Every great adventure begins with a small step. Joan Font has passed this Saturday the first competitive stage of the Dakar Rally 2023, the prologue stage. At the wheel of the Can-Am Maverick of the T3 category of the FN Speed team, and with his co-driver Themis Lopez, the driver from Vic has completed the 13 kilometers of special stage in 9 minutes and 50 seconds, which has earned him the 29th position in his category. However, the prologue only served to bid farewell to the year 2022 and establish the starting order for the first real stage of the fourth Dakar in Saudi Arabia, which starts this Sunday, January 1.

The special stage was short and uncomplicated, a loop starting and finishing at the Sea Camp, the huge bivouac on the shores of the Red Sea where the Dakar caravan will stay until the start of the second stage. The terrain was flat, with dirt tracks and a few jumps. An ideal setting to get reacquainted with driving a type of vehicle that Font had not driven for almost four years (since the 2019 Dakar), and also to adapt to working in the cockpit with his new co-driver, Themis Lopez from Huesca.

"It has been a good contact with the car. In addition, it was the first time we went out together with Themis in a race car and on a timed section. So, it was a matter of testing our sensations and checking that the settings of the Can-Am were to our liking in this first test of the race", said the Catalan driver, satisfied with his position in the middle of the standings in the T3 category.

Font is looking forward to the 2023 Dakar after missing the start of the 2022 edition. With the support of his sponsors, Doga, Racing Oil and the FN Speed team, he will compete for the first time with a lightweight proto, similar to the side-by-side with which he competed in his first two Dakars, but more evolved. In his fifth participation in the toughest motor race, the 2003 Spanish Dirt Rally Champion (2WD) is a fast and confident driver. His experience will be of great help to the FN Speed Team, which is fielding no less than nine Can-Am side-by-sides, in the T3 (light prototype) and T4 (modified series SSV) categories, as well as a race assistance truck.

After the appetizer of the prologue, this Sunday the first of the 14 stages of the Dakar 2023 will be another loop around the Sea Camp, but now 601 km long, including a 367 km special stage. "That's when the real race will start", says Font, who is clear about his tactics with Themis: "We're expecting a long and tough rally, and we want to approach it from less to more".

Official press release

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