The 2023 Dakar Rally has now surpassed the halfway point. Competitors have charged hard for nine days, through the prologue and eight stages. Sadly, a few have crashed out forcing an early withdrawal. Many have had setbacks but are still pressing on. All who have made it to their well-earned rest day still in contention have overcome huge adversity to make it to this point.
So far, over the eight stages and the 11-km prologue, the 2023 Dakar Rally has challenged racers with an official 5,320.38 kilometers total distance traveled. This includes 2,958 kilometers of timed specials. To finish the rally, competitors are facing six more days and another 3,185 kilometers left, including another 1,219 of specials.
With lengthy drives and racing day after day, it is no wonder race officials have broken it up with one single day off. The 2023 Dakar Rally halfway point, also known as the rest day, allows racers to catch their breath, barely. Depending on how one’s rally is going, one might be trying to catch up on a week’s worth of work, sleep, and food crammed down into a few hours.
Of course, sleeping in sounds appealing, but that is an unlikely scenario for most. Within this 24-hour window, competitors are scrambling to overhaul and service their racing machines, if not make serious repairs.
Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team Live From Dakar With Fishgistics
The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BF Goodrich is looking pretty great in the overall standings at the 2023 Dakar Rally halfway point. Somehow our Team USA boys found the time for a 20-minute Zoom interview with off-road racing media channel Fishgistics. It is worth a watch to hear what these Americans think about the 2023 Dakar Rally and life in the bivouac.
All racing in the Lightweight Prototype T3 division, our guys have had a pretty good run, but not exactly trouble-free.
Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team Stage 8 Quotes:
After his Stage 3 win, and four podium finishes, AJ Jones and co-driver Gustavo Gugelmin are now up to second overall in the T3 race. They are a mere 7 minutes off the lead.
“There were some fast desert sections that are more my style so I dug it. We saw that the guy in P1 was having a little bit of an issue so we went for it in the second half and tried to get as much time as possible. I’m happy that it’s Rest Day tomorrow, this one’s been tough. My plan is to sleep until at least 9:00 am and then eat a lot of food.” – AJ Jones
Quintero Is Still In Contention
Seth Quintero and co-driver Dennis Zenz took the Stage 5 victory and have finished on the podium five times out of the eight stages. Unfortunately during Stage 4, they suffered an 80-minute loss and are now working hard to make up that time.
“We got thrown a few curve balls today. I hit my head pretty hard at the beginning and was seeing stars for a little bit. I think we gained around 10 minutes on Guillaume today. We’re going to keep chugging along and see what happens. We’ve got a lot of racing left. I’m probably going to turn up the pace a little bit in the second week and see what happens.” – Seth Quintero
Mitch Guthrie Jr. Is Now On A Mission And Not Holding Back!
With three stage wins (Stage 2, 4, 7,) and 4 podiums, you would think Mitch Guthrie Jr. would be leading outright. Instead, on Stage 5 they lost significant time and are now only racing for stage wins. It is indeed an endurance race with up and down in their T3-M by MCE5 machine. The three stage wins are worthy of celebration, but their chances of an overall victory are over.
“We got a puncture after 55km so we got that changed and got on our way again. We had a good battle with Chaleco, but I’m not sure where we placed. Unfortunately, we had an issue on Stage Five that took us out of the running overall. Other than that, we’re still here and have three stage wins. The car is running trouble-free except for Stage Five so I’m really happy with how the rally has been going.” – Mitch Guthrie Jr.
Up to Stage 8, the T3 class has had six different leaders in this year’s rally.
T3 Lightweight Prototype Overall Standings After Stage 8
1. Guillaume De Mevius (BEL) OT3 36:03:09
2. AJ Jones (USA) CAN-AM +03:19
3. Seth Quintero (USA) CAN-AM +01:02:25
26. Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA) MCE5 +24:35:03
For all class, rankings check out Dakar.com or do like I did and download the much more user-friendly Dakar Rally app.
The Dakar Rally 2023 Course
Check out this very cool interactive Dakar course map on RedBull.com/dakar that does a great of breaking down the stages.
Distance – Total / Special
|Sat., December 31||Prologue||11 km / 11 km|
|Sun., January 1||Stage 1 – Sea Camp to Sea Camp||
602.56 km / 367 km
|Mon., January 2||Stage 2 – Sea Camp to Alula||589.07 km / 430 km|
|Tues., January 3||Stage 3 – Alula to Ha’il||
669.15 km / 447 km
|Wed., January 4||Stage 4 – Ha’il to Ha’il||
574.01 km / 425 km
|Thurs., January 5||Stage 5 – Ha’il to Ha’il||645.04 km / 373 km|
|Fri., January 6||Stage 6 – Ha’il to Al Duwadimi||876.24 km / 465 km|
|Sat., January 7||Stage 7 – Al Duwadimi to Al Duwadimi||641.46 km / 472 km|
|Sun., January 8||Stage 8 – Al Duwadimi to Riyadh||713.85 km / 398 km|
|Mon., January 9||Rest Day||Total Distance Traveled (5,320.38 / 2,958)|
|Tues., January 10||Stage 9 – Riyadh to Haradh||686 km / 358 km|
|Wed., January 11||Stage 10 – Haradh to Shaybah||
623.94 km / 113 km
|Thurs., January 12||Stage 11 – Shaybah to Empty Quarter Marathon||428.27 km / 275 km|
|Fri., January 13||Stage 12 – Empty Quarter Marathon to Shaybah||374.86 km / 183 km|
|Sat., January 14||Stage 13 – Shaybah to Al-Hofuf||675.6 km / 154 km|
|Sun., January 15||Stage 14 – Al-Hofuf to Dammam||417.3 km / 136 km|
Dakar Rally 2023: Half Way Mark With Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team
Photography sourced from Red Bull Content Pool.