Wednesday saw the 2023 Dakar Rally take on a short timed section with Kevin Benavides, Rokas Baciuška and Sébastien Loeb pushing hard ahead of the crucial two-part Marathon Stage
– The 2023 race has reached the business end in the Empty Quarter with 2021 Dakar winner Benavides hitting the front of the bike race by 1m 29s. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider said: “I attacked before crashing and losing a few minutes there, then I went back on the offensive.”
– Among the pack aiming to chase him down on the Marathon Stage is KTM team-mate and two-time winner Toby Price, who lies third 2m 10s behind. The Australian, 35, added: “Hopefully a few people will get in the mix of it. We’ll try and get some gaps.”
– There was no change in T4 where Baciuška and co-driver Oriol Vidal of the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team hold a 3m 40s lead over 18-year-old Eryk Goczal, while T3 category leaders Guillaume De Mevius/François Cazalet had their advantage over AJ Jones/Gustavo Gugelmin cut to 7m 48s with Jones’ fellow Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BFGoodrich crew of Seth Quintero/Dennis Zenz triumphant on the day.
– Frenchman Loeb claimed the 20th stage win of his Dakar career in the car category with Swede Mattias Ekström second. Loeb, 48, said: “No mistakes, no problems. Only dunes for more than 100 kilometres. It was quite long, quite demanding, but the feeling was good.”
– Competitors across all categories will now be separated from their mechanics from the beginning of Thursday’s Stage 11 until the conclusion of Friday’s Stage 12 with over 450km of desert racing to tackle head on.
The 2023 Dakar Rally is located in Saudi Arabia and runs from December 31, 2022 – January 15, 2023.