Stage 10 of the 2023 Dakar Rally, the shortest special stage of the rally at 114 kilometers, saw a pair of familiar faces atop the rankings in the car and motorcycle classes. Sebastien Loeb earned his fourth stage win of the event in the trek from Haradh to Shaybah in his Prodrive Hunter, while Ross Branch gave Hero Motorsports its third-ever stage victory—and his second of the rally—on two wheels.
Today’s stage is the first step towards the punishing Empty Quarter, and those who could best master the dunes were set to post the fastest times. Branch beat Adrien Van Beveren by 21 seconds, while South African rookie Michal Docherty impressed by completing the motorcycle podium and Kevin Benavides finally took the overall lead from American Skyler Howes with a fourth place finish on stage.
Loeb beat Mattias Ekstrom by just over three minutes for the car win, but the field remains more than an hour adrift of the consistent Nasser Al-Attiyah in the overall standings. Al-Attiyah’s lead is the largest of the rally, just three minutes larger than Alexandre Giroud’s advantage in the quads, as both have been consistent top-10 stage finishers but neither are pushing too hard in order to maintain their advantages.
Another stage win for Seth Quintero in T3 Lightweight Prototype, and a sixth place finish for AJ Jones, allowed the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team teammates to shave a few minutes off Guillaume De Mevius’ overall lead; Jones’ deficit is back down to 7:48 with four stages to go. The T4 SSV class remains as hotly contested as ever, with stage winner Gerard Farres and the father-son duo of Marek and Eryk Goczal all chipping away at Rokas Baciuska’s lead; the quartet are separated by just 11:40 at this point.
Finally, tragedy struck the truck division in Stage 9 when leader Ales Loprais inadvertently struck a photographer, who later suffered a heart attack and passed away. Loprais withdrew from the event as a result, giving Stage 9 winner Janus Van Kasteren the overall lead as Pascal de Baar took today’s truck stage win.
2023 Dakar Rally Stage 10 winners were as follows:
- Bikes: Ross Branch, 1:44:00
- Quads: Marcelo Medeiros, 2:04:28
- Cars: Sebastien Loeb, 1:48:32
- Lightweight Prototype: Seth Quintero, 1:55:17
- SSV: Gerard Farres, 1:58:22
- Truck: Pascal de Baar, 2:09:46
2023 Dakar Rally class leaders are as follows:
- Bikes: Kevin Benavides, 35:46:06
- Quads: Alexandre Giroud, 44:35:00
- Cars: Nasser Al’Attiyah, 36:13:37
- Lightweight Prototype: Guillaume De Mevius, 41:45:58
- SSV: Rokas Baciuska, 43:17:29
- Truck: Janus Van Kasteren, 43:00:51
Coverage of today’s Dakar Rally action will debut on Peacock at 6:30PM ET. Tomorrow’s Stage 11 is the longest remaining special stage of the rally at 274 kilometers, and confronts racers with not only all types of sand, but also an empty bivouac at the end of the day as part of the planned Empty Quarter Marathon.