The 2023 edition of the Dakar Rally is officially underway. Events kicked off with a Prologue to determine starting positions for Stage 1. The special kicked off with the 229-mile competitor’s route along the coast at what is known as “Sea Camp.” This stage would be a loop and the competitors would return to the same spot they started.
Dakar reigning champion Sam Sunderland ran into some bad luck just 30 miles into the rally crashing off his bike. Sunderland was flown to a nearby medical center where he was diagnosed with a broken shoulder blade. It is not yet known whether he will continue to compete in the reminder of the Rally. Sunderland’s misfortune opened the door for Ricky Brabec who claimed the moto win and immediately claims the top spot in the points standings.
“Goal number one was not to open the stage. I feel quite well and confident after today, but I will just try to go day by day, keep pace and stay in the Top 10. It’s going to be hard to be out of the lead – like we saw today – but we have to see how it goes until the rest day. Today was fairly simple, no stress, it was a great day,” said Brabec.
Over in the car class, Carlos Sainz claimed an opening victory for Team Audi with the RS Q etron 2s. Behind Sainz by just seconds was rival Sebastien Loeb. Seth Quintero played things cool admittedly getting caught up in some dust in the T3 class. Quintero still managed a 3rd place finish right in front of Red Bull Junior teammate Austin Jones. Francisco Lopez Contardo took the victory giving CanAm the opening podium.