Dakar 2023: Stage 10 - Joan Font recovers the good tone on a sea of dunes

Dakar 2023: Stage 10 - Joan Font recovers the good tone on a sea of dunes

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  •  The rider from Vic and Themis Lopez completed a short special stage entirely in the desert with a good pace, in 28th position in the T3 category.
  • The FN Speed Team pair remains in the Top 20 overall among the light prototypes.
  • "The car worked perfectly and so did we. With Themis we went very well, with good navigation."

A sea of dunes was the backdrop for the tenth stage of the Dakar, between Haradh and Shaybah. Joan Font turned the page on the previous day's muddy fording and finished the 114-kilometer special stage in 28th place in the T3 category (light prototypes), just 34 minutes behind the leader. In the overall standings, the Catalan driver and his Aragonese co-driver Themis Lopez remain in the Top 20, with the FN Speed Team's Can-Am Maverick.

The special stage was the shortest of this Dakar, with just over a hundred kilometers that the driver from Vic took two and a half hours to complete. But the day was once again exhausting for the riders, because before starting the timed stage they had to ride a very long 467-kilometer liaison, which forced them to get up even earlier than in a "normal" stage, and another 42 kilometers later, to reach the bivouac. In addition, the special stage, although short, was pure desert, as the Dakar entered the vast Empty Quarter on Wednesday, where it will remain until next Saturday. "Today was a relatively short stage, with little mileage, but we are already entering the Empty Quarter, in the heart of the desert," explained the driver from Vic.

The description of the terrain was clear: a dirt track at the start of the special stage led the riders to the Rub al-Jali desert, better known as the Empty Quarter. It is the largest desert of sand and dunes in the world, and this was the menu: off-road on sand, with alternating undulating plains and strings of dunes. This is how the former Spanish dirt rally champion assessed it: "Today's stage was 100% sand, very intense, with level 2 and level 3 dunes of great difficulty to pass. It was a slow and very tricky stage".

The navigation was very important, and also the riding, because the sand was dry, but quite soft in general. In addition, the Can-Am number 318 with the colors of Doga, Racing Oil and FN Speed started very far back in the starting order, due to the time lost in the mud on Tuesday, and found the terrain very hard because of the ruts of the trucks that preceded it. Despite this, Font and Lopez rode at a good pace on a terrain where the side-by-side vehicles (categories T3 and T4) perform very well and recovered ten positions in the classification of the stage in their category, compared to the partial position they occupied on Tuesday. "The car worked perfectly and so did we. With Themis we went very well, with good navigation", said Font, satisfied with the day.

This Thursday, the Dakar will dive even deeper into the Empty Quarter. In addition, the eleventh stage is the first part of the marathon stage in the desert, without assistance at the end of the day. From Shaybah, the caravan will start a 151-kilometer liaison (short by Dakar standards) followed by a 275-kilometer special stage, the longest of the four remaining stages before the finish in Dammam.

 

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

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