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HomeWatchesPetrolhead Nook - A recap of the monstrous Dakar 2023 Rally

Petrolhead Nook – A recap of the monstrous Dakar 2023 Rally

A few weeks in the past we painted the scene for the annual desert showdown often known as the Dakar Rally Raid for 2023. Audi was able to take the battle to Toyota and Prodrive and lined up the almighty RS Q E-Tron E2 at the beginning of the Prologue on December thirty first. The place the Audi is electrically pushed, with a petroleum engine principally doubling as a spread extender, Toyota and others relied on typical inside combustion engines to get them throughout Saudi Arabia. Now, with two weeks of ‘enjoyable within the solar’ behind us, it’s time to take one other look and see how the highest rivals faired and summarize what occurred within the automobiles, bikes, vehicles and different classes. Right here’s the recap of the Dakar 2023 version!

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Bivouac in the course of the Prologue of the Dakar 2023, on December 31, 2022 close to Yanbu, Saudi Arabia

As all the time, most consideration goes to the automotive class as that’s principally the largest enjoying discipline inside the Dakar Rally Raid. Large-budget manufacturing facility groups battle it out with skilled privateer groups and brave amateurs. And the time period ‘amateurs’ doesn’t imply they’re messing about simply to have somewhat enjoyable. Oh no, these are severe rivals and a bit mad, to start with, to willingly bear the gruelling 5,000km+ journey. Every competitor wants an FIA-sanctioned racing license and must show the workforce is ready to compete in and full the Dakar (in principle).

One other stipulation states that rivals on a motorbike should have competed in different worldwide rally raids earlier than being allowed to start out the Dakar. However we’re digressing a bit. As all the time, all lessons are assured to supply tons of motion on the course, with crashes and breakdowns nearly a certainty for all groups, as they blast throughout essentially the most wonderful surroundings for a few fortnight! This 12 months, out of 370 groups that set off for the Prologue on the final day of 2022, greater than half made it to the end. That’s fairly one thing contemplating the very fact some years greater than 75% fail to take action!

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Toyota Wins, Audi takes a desert beating

This 12 months noticed the rivalry between Audi, Toyota and Prodrive peak, as every of those top-tier groups battled it out aiming for the win on each stage. Audi got here ready with three of its super-advanced RS Q E-Tron E2 prototype. Toyota relied on the tried-and-tested Hilux racing truck, whereas Prodrive fielded the formidable Hunter T1+. Prime drivers like rally ace Sebastian Loeb, a number of Dakar-winner Nasr Al-Attiyah and the legendary Carlos Sainz Sr. battled it out stage after stage. Audi had an incredible begin profitable each the Prologue and the primary stage, however after that, it was just about Prodrive and Toyota that got here in first within the remaining levels. A giant crash for Carlos Sainz Sr. within the Audi on stage 9 sidelined him because the automotive was too badly broken to proceed. The remaining two Audis additionally had their fair proportion of points, leaving the door open for Prodrive and Toyota.

From stage three onwards although, it was Toyota’s Nasr Al-Attiyah who took over the lead within the total standings and by no means conceived it, it doesn’t matter what the others threw at him by way of stage wins. He was intently adopted by each his teammate Lucas Moraes and Sebastian Loeb within the Prodrive. No different constructor moreover Toyota, Audi and Prodrive landed on the rostrum all through all the occasion, showcasing the dominance and resistance of the three. After all of the mud had settled, Al-Attiyah took residence his fifth total win and his third for Toyota, whereas Sebastian Loeb got here in second with a record-setting six-stage profitable streak. Lucas Moraes accomplished the rostrum in his Toyota Hilux.

A Dutchman takes the win for iveco

The Dutch have an extended and storied historical past relating to Dakar. The legendary Dutchman Jan De Rooy paved the best way in his DAF and GINAF vehicles for a lot of others to observe, together with his son Gerard de Rooy additionally raced in DAFs, GINAFs and later Ivecos. For years it will be a particularly intense battle with the Russian Kamaz-trucks however this 12 months was completely different for causes that want no explaining. The Truck class is all the time a recipe for spectacular photographs as these huge, highly effective machines plough by infinite dunes and throughout barren wastelands at unimaginable speeds (regardless of being restricted for high pace, as each class is).

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Janus van Kasteren in his Iveco Powerstar truck, winner within the Truck division.

After two weeks of struggling and hardship, Dutchman Janus van Kasteren took the win in his Iveco Powerstar, intently adopted by Czech driver Martin Macik and fellow Dutchman Martin van den Brink, each in comparable Iveco vehicles. The fourth-place finisher can also be from the Netherlands, additionally drives an Iveco Powerstar, and occurs to be Martin van den Brink’s son, 21-year-old Mitchel van den Brink. This may sound like a dominant efficiency by Iveco and the Dutch, however with any class, it’s all about consistency and making an attempt to remain out of hassle as a lot as potential.

In case you have a look at the stage-by-stage wins, it was a really shut battle from begin to end! Martin Macik was the quickest six occasions, with Janus van Kasteren profitable three levels, and father-and-son Van den Brink profitable one every. Going by the general podium completed per stage additionally signifies that these rivals battled it out each single time, together with Dakar-legend Ales Loprais, and sometimes another person thrown within the combine.

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KTM again on high

Few data regarding Dakar are as spectacular as KTM’s EIGHTEEN straight wins within the bikes. Contemplating the may of worldwide producers like Honda and Yamaha, that is an almighty file to attain, and doubtless won’t ever be overwhelmed by anybody. The streak led to 2020 when Honda got here in first, however this 12 months KTM was again on high, the place they seemingly belong. Nevertheless it wasn’t a simple victory by any means, as there was just about a brand new stage winner each day. Solely three drivers gained greater than as soon as in the course of the two weeks of competitors, all driving a distinct bike producer (Husqvarna, KTM, Hero).

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In the long run, it was KTM’s Kevin Benavides who was victorious however by the narrowest of margins possible. The distinction between him and teammate Toby Value was simply 43 seconds! Simply think about that; navigating your means throughout 1000’s of miles over two weeks, by yourself, and also you win (or lose) by lower than a minute! After nearly 45 hours of racing it comes right down to mere seconds. Third place was additionally shut by, as Skyler Howes needed to yield simply over 5 minutes on his Husqvarna.

Quads, Prototypes, SSV’s and Classics

However that’s not all, as individuals additionally race on Quad bikes, gentle prototypes, side-by-side buggies (SSVs) and even basic automobiles. Frenchman Alexandre Giroud got here in first within the Quad bikes. Within the gentle prototype class, it was Austin Jones who piloted his Can-Am Maverick XRS to victory, whereas Polish driver Eryk Goczal gained within the SSVs, additionally in a Can-Am Maverick XRS (the distinction is that one is a prototype automobile, whereas the opposite is a manufacturing automobile. Within the Classics class, fielding automobiles constructed earlier than the 12 months 2000, it was Juan Morera driving a Toyota HDJ80 that gained.

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Malle Moto

A particular point out ought to be given to the Malle Moto class, the place rivals on bikes and quads are utterly unassisted. The place the remainder of the classes can have mechanics work on their machines in between levels, a Malle Moto rider is given only one trunk of instruments and spare elements. So principally, consider the toughest rally raid on the planet, after which consider doing it solo, with no outdoors assist. Simply you, and your (quad) bike. The concept is to come back as near the unique adventuring spirit of the Dakar as potential. Nicely, you have to be mad going at it by yourself!

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Editorial ObserveAll photographs are offered by, and used with permission of the official Dakar organisation until said in any other case.



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