2023 DAKAR RALLY

Sand, rocks and water test the competitors for weeks in Saudi Arabia

It was an interesting Dakar, the race that starts the 2023 racing season. The American presence on this world stage is growing every year. This time around, our boys from the U.S. headlined the top motorcycle and UTV classes.

Sand dunes made up the majority of the racing surface for 2023 Dakar in Saudi Arabia. It’s interesting that this racer opted to run two spares in this sector. There may have been dangerous rocky sections, too.
Photo by A.S.O._H.Cabilla

 

Last year’s winner, Austin Jones, returned in his proven Can-Am Maverick X3 but joined the USA Red Bull off-road Junior team. Presented by BFG with the likes of Seth Quintero and Mitch Guthrie Jr., Guthrie made the switch from the Red Bull OT3 to a new lightweight prototype vehicle called MCE-5 and Quintero joined the South Racing Can-Am stable. All three competed in the Lightweight Prototype class this year. The standard SSV class had another group of fast drivers from all over the world primarily competing in Can-Am X3s.

Arizona native Austin Jones took his second Dakar overall win in as many years. Look for him to contest more North American desert races in 2023.
Photo credit: Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BFGoodrich

 

During the 15-stage rally across the deserts of Saudi Arabia, the three traded stage wins with each other and Belgian Guillaume de Mevius, who was driving the old OT3 car Mitch and Seth drove last year.

The true heroes of Dakar are the mechanics who work through the night or on “rest days” to bring the race vehicles back to brand new. This is second-place podium finisher Rokas Baciuska’s Can-Am running a 32-inch Tensor DS tire. He was behind the wheel over 53 hours total. The crew was at work more than twice that amount. Photo credit: A.S.O._J.Delfosse

 

De Mevius was keeping the Americans honest and on their game until a mechanical in Stage 11 put him an hour and half down. From there on, it was Jones’ race to lose, while Quintero tried to hold onto a podium spot and rack up a few more stage wins. Speaking of stage wins, just past the halfway point in the rally, two different Yamaha YXZ drivers traded wins and even dominated the podium in Stage 11, giving the bLU cRU something to smile about. Guthrie Jr. unfortunately had a small 2-dollar part fail in his steering system during an early stage, taking him out of the running for the overall. He did, however, rack up a handful of stage wins during the two-week run.

Belgian Guillaume de Mevius had the lead overall going down to the wire until a failure in his VW-powered OT3 took him out of the running. Former winner Francisco Lopez Contardo suffered the same fate when he got stuck in a flash flood.
Photo credit: A.S.O._F.Gooden_DPPI

 

Now that the dust has settled on Dakar, we are excited to welcome the Red Bull Junior team back home to North America to watch them compete in races such as the Mint 400, Vegas 2 Reno, Baja races and select Red Bull Scrambles.

Ricardo Porem captured one stage win (11) and two top-five finishes in his Yamaha YXZ1000R.
Photo credit: Frederic Le Floc DPPI
This year the SSV group was full of world-class drivers. Can-Am dominated the class, taking the top nine spots for the race overall and won every stage. There was one Polaris in the top 10, finishing 10th.
Photo credit: Dakar.com

 

The roaming circus that is Dakar travels over 5000 miles during the two-week event.
Photo credit Red Bull Content Pool.

 

Yamaha drivers had notable success at this year’s Dakar. Ignacio Casale had five stage podiums, and he and his Yamaha teammates swept the podium on Stage 11.
Photo credit: A.S.O._H.Cabilla

 

It takes two to win an event like this. Austin’s navigator Gustavo Gugelmin deserves as much recognition as Jones does.
Photo credit: Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BFGoodrich

 

 

LIGHTWEIGHT PROTOTYPE (UTVs)

TOP 10 AFTER 14 STAGES

1. Austin Jones Can-Am X3/51H 55Min

2. Seth Quintero Can-Am X3/-52Min

3. Guillaume De Mevius OT3/-1H 35Min

4. Cristina Gutierrez Can-Am X3/-2H 56Min

5. Francisco Lopez Contador Can-Am X3/-2H 59Min

6. Saleh Alsaif Can-Am X3/-4H 14Mi

7. Ebenhaezer Basson OT3/-4H54Min

8. Hans Weijs Arcane/-6H 13Min

9. Santiago Navarro Can-Am X3/-6H 34Min

10. Ignacio Casale Yamaha YXZ1000R/-6H 53Min

LIGHTWEIGHT PROTOTYPE (UTVs) STAGE WINNERS

Stage 1 Francisco Lopez Contador Can-Am X3

Stage 2 Mitch Guthrie Jr. MCE-5

Stage 3 Austin Jones Can-Am X3

Stage 4 Mitch Guthrie Jr. MCE-5

Stage 5 Seth Quintero Can-Am X3

Stage 6 Guillaume de Mevius OT3

Stage 7 Mitch Guthrie Jr. MCE-5

Stage 8 Joao Ferreira Yamaha YXZ1000R

Stage 9 David Zille Can-Am X3

Stage 10 Seth Quintero Can-Am X3

Stage 11 Ricardo Porem Yamaha YXZ1000R

Stage 12 Mitch Guthrie Jr. MCE-5

Stage 13 Mitch Guthrie Jr. MCE-5

Stage 14 Cristina Gutierrez Can-Am X3

SSV OVERALL PODIUM

1. Eryk Goczal Can-Am X3/53H 10Min

2. Rokas Baciuska Can-Am X3/-16Min

3. Marek Goczal Can-Am X3/-18Min

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