By the end of Stage 6 today, of the 2023 Dakar Rally, South African built vehicles are leading the way in three classes!
Southern Africa Dakar Group proudly reported that they’ve been informed by Red-Lined Motorsport Adventure’s Terence Marsh that:
- the T1+ class is led by the South African built Toyota,
- the T1.1 class is led by the South African built Red-Lined VK50, and
- the T1.2 class is led by the South African built Century CR6
What is the Dakar Rally?
The Dakar Rally is the pinnacle off-road race – motorsport’s toughest test of endurance racing. The fourth edition kick-started the new year in Saudi Arabian dunes. The world’s best off-road racers face 5,000 racing kilometres spread over 14 timed special stages before the chequered flag finally falls at Dammam on January 15.
South African racers today, Day 6
It was an extremely challenging day on Friday (Day 6) for many, with South African female Rally Racer Kirsten Landman posting an emotional video about trying to get through the stage. Weather conditions have been abysmal. Dakar Rally announced on Friday night that the Bike Race: Stage 7 has been cancelled. “God has answered my prayers,” said Kirsten in an update afterwards.
Dakar Rally said:
“Faced with the weather problems experienced again today and the level of tiredness observed among all the riders in the category, the Dakar organizers have decided to cancel the special for stage seven between Riyadh and Al Duwadimi.
The bikes and quads will therefore be invited to leave the bivouac in Riyadh from 10 AM tomorrow morning and take the road section to Al Duwadimi. On Sunday 8th January, they will then contest stage 8 as rescheduled, i.e., with the special of stage 7 from the initial route, reduced to a length of 345 kilometres.
“However, stage seven will be contested by the crews in the car and truck categories as well as by the competitors on the #DakarClassic.”
Kirsten said yesterday, amidst all the sand and dunes: “Everyday I think it can’t get any harder, but it does. I’m hanging on. This is by far the hardest race I have done. My strategy remains, and that is to keep the wheels turning and get to the finish line.” (In 2020, Kirsten Landman and Taye Perry became the first women from Africa to ever complete the Dakar Rally.)
South Africans racing in the car category include Giniel De Villiers (currently 4th in overall ranking) and Dennis Murphy who are using the Toyota Hilux T1+. Today was tough for the guys, coming in 26th.
Giniel said in a post tonight that there had been “lots of jumping and dunes! Was going well until 200km in, our front diff broke. We then had to do the rest of the stage in 2 wheel drive crossing some really big dunes. Then 50km from end we lost power steering as well! To cap that we had a puncture but our jacks didn’t work because of power steering failure. We had to look for a camel grass to get the wheel high enough to change. But we made it to the finish! Hopefully less eventful tomorrow!😬😜”
SA’s Charan Moore is currently leading the Original by Motul Class after an awesome P32 overall on stage today. “Great ride Charan; making it look easy! With tomorrow’s Stage cancelled for the bikes, Charan will fight again on SS8. Let’s go!” said SA Dakar Group.
Brett Cummings and Henk Lategan were on fire today, but still admitted it was “a long stage!!! Longer than 12hrs on the road. Struggled a little at one waypoint, and stopped to give spares to Yazeed, but a clean day nonetheless. P3 for the day and P2 overall. Still a long way to go.”
Leonard Cremer and Brian Baragwanath, have raced into the top ten overall. Yesterday was hectic when they found themselves stuck upside down after meeting a “nasty hole” when they came over a blind rise. Today was a “bit easier” said Brian although a few “booby traps”. Writing on social media, he said: “Lots of crazy locals racing on the route in their brown 4×4’s, got a bit sketchy😅. P10 for the day, tomorrow is a mini marathon stage as will only see the crew for 2hrs on the Liason and we won’t see them tomorrow night… Let’s see what S7 and S8 brings. Then it’s rest day phew.”
Michael Docherty, a South African based in Dubai, had a great ride, coming in at P28 on the Stage and P23 overall. Michael said: “All in all I’m in good spirits. Thank you again to everyone for supporting and pushing me every day.”
Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Dakar Rally 2023, with Bonus Photos Below
- The Dakar Rally is the pinnacle of the Rally Raid calendar. Rally raid, also known as cross-country rallying, is a form of long-distance off-road racing that takes place over several days.
- The Dakar Rally adventure has its origins in 1977 when French motorcycle racer Thierry Sabine got lost on his motorbike in the Libyan desert during the Abidjan-Nice Rally. After navigating his way out of the desert, the Frenchman was determined to design a race that drew on his experience with a route starting in Europe, continuing to Algiers and crossing Agadez before eventually finishing at Dakar. Since that time, the Dakar Rally has evolved from racing in Africa to South America and now to Saudi Arabia.
- The race consists of one stage per day comprising at least one “special” stage each (several hundred kilometres long), which may be on or off-road. The total distance covered is several thousand kilometres. The event takes place over a period of ten to fifteen days.
- The classification of the stage is made up of the times set in the special stage plus any sporting penalties. The race requires precise navigation, which is done via a roadbook provided by the organisers and handed out at the start of each stage.
- The starting order of each special will be based on the times set in the timed sector of the previous stage, including any sporting penalties (e.g. for speeding in link sectors or missing waypoints) incurred during the stage.
- The 2023 Dakar Rally will be the longest route since 2014 participants will tackle 5,000 kilometres of specials into a prologue and 14 stages. The Prologue Stage launches on December 31, 2022, in Yanbu by the Red Sea with the field looking to make it all the way across – loaded with more dunes and potential pitfalls than ever before – to Dammam on the Arabian Gulf for a January 15 finish.
Follow all the Dakar action on the Southern Africa Dakar Group here: