Stage 6 victories for class leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah in cars and Guillaume De Mevius in T3 Light Prototype have allowed each to further extend their respective overall leads in the 2023 edition of the Dakar Rally. Al-Attiyah’s time of 3:13:12 in today’s shortened stage, which shook out to 357 kilometers of special stages to Riyadh, was good enough to beat Sebastien Loeb for the day’s top honors by 3:29, and extends his overall advantage to more than an hour over teammate Henk Lategan.
Crashes for Audi teammates Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel in the same spot today have altered the complexion of the event, with Peterhansel needing to withdraw as his co-driver Edouard Boulanger was airlifted to a hospital with back pain. Mattias Ekstrom is the top remaining Audi driver at fifth overall, but he’s nearly two hours off of Al-Attiyah’s pace.
Meanwhile, De Mevius added another 1:39 to his advantage over top American T3 runner Austin Jones, who was second on the day. Jones remains within 10 minutes of De Mevius for first place, while fellow Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team member Seth Quintero ensured that both the daily and overall rankings would have the same podium with a third place finish of his own.
Still, an American remains out front in the motorcycle class as the rally approaches its halfway point, with Husqvarna factory rider Skyler Howes continuing to hold the position. Howes finished second to stage winner Luciano Benavides by 56 seconds in today’s action, but still gained more than a minute on Toby Price, who finished third, for the overall lead. The duo are separated by 3:31 after six of 12 stages, with Price holding a nearly equal 3:30 advantage over Kevin Benavides in third.
Brothers Marek and Michal Goczal finished 1-2 on the day in T4 SSV, but Rodrigo Luppi still managed to extend his overall lead to more than 20 minutes over second place Eryk Goczal by finishing fifth to the youngest Goczal’s seventh. Manuel Andujar added a stage win of his own in quads, but second place finisher Alexandre Giroud still holds one of the biggest overall leads in the rally with a 42-minute advantage. The truck class, on the other hand, is about as close as it gets; after finishing more than 26 minutes off stage winner Mitchel Van Den Brink’s winning time, Ales Loprais has just 23 seconds of cushion on Martin Van Den Brink for the overall lead.
2023 Dakar Rally Stage 6 winners were as follows:
- Bikes: Luciano Benavides, 3:14:19
- Quads: Manuel Andujar, 4:08:25
- Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah, 3:13:12
- Lightweight Prototype: Guillaume De Mevius, 3:39:43
- SSV: Marek Goczal, 3:43:18
- Truck: Mitchel Van Den Brink, 3:46:58
2023 Dakar Rally class leaders are as follows:
- Bikes: Skyler Howes, 26:31:52
- Quads: Alexandre Giroud, 32:58:54
- Cars: Nasser Al’Attiyah, 24:00:48
- Lightweight Prototype: Guillaume De Mevius, 27:55:22
- SSV: Rodrigo Luppi, 29:02:55
- Truck: Ales Loprais, 28:44:04
Coverage of today’s Dakar Rally action will debut on Peacock at 6:30PM ET. This year’s route has seen multiple adjustments for the coming days after the bivouac couldn’t be installed in Al Duwadimi in time due to the weather. The new Stages 7 and 8 will operate in marathon mode, with their original paths flipped and vehicles locked away between them on the altered route after a brief assistance zone following tomorrow’s 333 kilometers of special stage.