Sebastien Loeb’s Stage 13 win in the 2023 Dakar Rally, a triumph in today’s 154 kilometers of special stage action from Shaybah to Al-Hofuf, may not be enough to catch Nasser Al-Attiyah for his first overall victory in the event, but he won’t be going home empty handed. Loeb’s sixth consecutive stage win made him the first driver in event history to win six stages in a row in the car class, breaking a record that Ari Vatanen had held for more than 30 years.
But while Al-Attiyah remains an hour and 21 minutes ahead of Loeb in the overall classification with just one stage remaining, the motorcycles are separated by just 12 seconds. Toby Price maintains the overall lead over Kevin Benavides, although their Red Bull KTM teammate Matthias Walkner would have to withdraw after a serious fall on stage. Walkner was joined in the withdrawals by American upstart Mason Klein, whose bid for the overall win faded after lingering injuries suffered on Stage 9 took their toll; Skyler Howes remains the best hope for the Americans on two wheels, entering tomorrow third in class and 1:31 off the lead.
It’s not all bad news for the red, white, and blue, though. AJ Jones’ lead in T3 Lightweight Prototype remains a relatively safe 54:30 over Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team compatriot Seth Quintero, and more than an hour and a half over former overall leader Guillaume De Mevius. For the second straight day, the T3 class podium was separated by less than a minute, with Mitch Guthrie Jr. once again on top. It’s the opposite in T4 SSV, where Eryk Goczal had a comfortable 4:19 win over Rokas Baciuska, and Baciuska’s overall advantage is now down to 3:24, the second-smallest margin among any major class.
In quads, Marcelo Mederios added another stage victory, while Alexandre Giroud maintains his 40-minute advantage over Francisco Moreno Flores as he goes for his second straight win. The gap is similarly large again in the trucks, where Martin Van Den Brink went from just 1:12 behind Janus Van Kasteren for the overall to out of the event entirely after mechanical issues today. Martin Macik won the stage by 3:25 over Van Kasteren to inherit second overall, but he remains well over an hour adrift in the overall rankings thanks to early issues of his own.
2023 Dakar Rally Stage 13 winners were as follows:
- Bikes: Kevin Benavides, 2:21:47
- Quads: Marcelo Medeiros, 2:55:48
- Cars: Sebastien Loeb, 2:26:17
- Lightweight Prototype: Mitch Guthrie Jr., 2:41:08
- SSV: Eryk Goczal, 2:35:13
- Truck: Martin Macik, 3:02:43
2023 Dakar Rally class leaders are as follows:
- Bikes: Toby Price, 43:11:51
- Quads: Alexandre Giroud, 54:53:18
- Cars: Nasser Al’Attiyah, 43:48:10
- Lightweight Prototype: AJ Jones, 50:31:59
- SSV: Rokas Baciuska, 51:41:34
- Truck: Janus Van Kasteren, 52:38:58
Coverage of today’s Dakar Rally action will debut on Peacock at 6:30PM ET. Tomorrow’s Stage 14 brings racers to Dammam for the finale, with two major challenges for racers looking to make up time. The first is that the special stage is only 136 kilometers long, the second shortest of the rally; the second is that racers will start in reverse order of the overall standings, meaning that leaders will have well-established tracks ahead of them to use to push their pursuers.