Four cars ready for the toughest race on the planet
South African rally raid race car maker, Red-Lined Motorsport is represented by four customer entries in the 2023 Dakar Rally. The action starts with a short qualifying stage on Saturday before the race proper kicks off New Year’s Sunday 1 January.
The four Red-Lined entries include the ‘Tom & Jerry’ pairing, the ever-consistent Dubai based Brit Thomas Bell and experienced South African navigator Gerhard Schutte in a TBR Red-Lined VK56. This steady duo is looking for Bell’s fourth consecutive Dakar finish following a sterling effort to 7th overall in the T3 Prototype class last year. That follows Tom’s two previous T1 finishes in 2019 and 2020.
German Daniel Schröder once again has South African Ryan Bland reading the notes in the PS Laser VK50. Schroder, who starts his seventh Dakar that includes two bike finishes, is looking to improve on his solid 36th place among the cars in 2022. Bland returns for his second Dakar alongside Daniel following a strong South African season together.
The Dutch pairing of Dave Klaassen and Tessa Rooth make their Dakar debut in their Daklapak VK56. They were South African Rally Raid Championship regulars in 2022 where they showed good consistent pace and this together with a Red-Lined training camp to Namibia later in the year ensured that they are ready for their maiden Dakar attack. They cannot wait to tackle the world’s toughest motorsport event.
Another Dutch duo, Ronald Van Loon and Erik Lemmen likewise make their Dakar Rally debut aboard their Oase Motorsport VK50. This crew has a fair share of Rally Raid experience dating back to 2014 including several national and international events. Now Ronald and Erik look forward to stepping up to the big one in 2023.
“Red-Lined Motorsport will have a management and technical team on the ground in Saudi Arabia supporting our four customer Dakar entries this year,” team boss Terence Marsh explains. “We have two VK50 and two VK56 customer teams competing and will do whatever we can to help them finish the toughest motorsport event on the planet. Our administration and testing around the Sea Camp base is now done and dusted and the guys are ready. “It’s now time to get this party started!”
Dakar 2023 commences with a short 13 km Prologue on Saturday before the first full day of racing sees a 367km gravel loop around Sea Camp on Sunday. A tough week then follows with around 400km of racing every day through to Monday’s Rest Day. Week 2 includes Thursday and Friday’s 185km marathon stage with no overnight service into the challenging Empty Quarter before moving on to the finish in Dammam on Sunday 15 January.