It is the highlight of a week of action in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. The Dakar Rally 2023 finally reached today the immense sea of dunes known as the Empty Quarter. With a special reddish-orange color, this is the largest continuous sand territory in the world – with its 1000 kilometers long and 500 km wide.  This was the landscape to the marathon stage of this year’s race (stage 11), starting early this morning from Shaybah and arriving less than three hours later in the heart of this region.

This morning the counter of the Honda’s CRF 450 Rally marked 4,000 kilometers of specials right after the start, with 273 km of the selective section (added by a liaison of 151 km) to complete during the marathon stage. On the arrival our riders were their own in terms of assistance, since they won’t have any mechanics or external help.

Monster Energy Honda Team riders are fighting to evolve in the top standings. Today the best was Pablo Quintanilla, with a fifth place 2:54 minutes off the pace. This performance meant a step up in the overall standings to fourth position. Second was José Ignacio Cornejo, who finished in 14th place 8:13 minutes off the pace (8th overall). Adrien Van Beveren was opening the track and reached the end in 18th place, meaning a 5th place overall.

The second part of the marathon stage will take place tomorrow with the return to Shaybah on stage 12. Along the 185 km of this selective section (added by a liaison of 188 km) there will be a focus on the tactical acumen of the riders. With just three days to go in this Dakar Rally 2023 it is certainly time to attack in every dune!

Ruben Faria

General Manager

“Today we had a very hard stage, the biggest one in the Empty Quarter with the first part of the marathon. We are behind the top 3 but I believe we are still in contention to change that. In the previous days we have been losing and gaining time like it is normal, but we lost too much time in the first six days. We lost Ricky Brabec, a Dakar winner, quite early and that was also a blow to our aspirations. About today’s stage, Adrien was great opening the track - he lost some time but that we already expected like it is normal. Nacho got lost in the middle of the special stage. Pablo also had a good stage but will be in front tomorrow. All riders arrived well and the Honda CRF 450 Rally is also perfect to continue. This is the Dakar Rally and we have to fight and believe until the end of the race!”

Pablo Quintanilla 7

“It was not an easy day, the sand was too soft and sometimes it was hard to climb the dunes. Anyway I was at a good pace and I think I did a good stage. The first part of the marathon stage is done and my Honda CRF 450 Rally is without any damage, so I am ready to continue tomorrow.”

José Ignacio Cornejo 11

“I made some navigation mistakes and lost around eight minutes. I am not happy about that, but that's what it is. I will stay focused on climbing on the overall standings and keep fighting until the end. This is Dakar and I have to maintain my goal. ”

Adrien Van Beveren 42

“It was a good day, I caught Ross at kilometer 40 then I opened almost all the stage. I feel good and I feel fast on this terrain but when you open you always lose time. For sure I am doing my best every day and every minute and we will see how it goes.”

2023 World Rally Raid Championship
Stage Round WORLD1   Dakar
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Benavides Luciano 77 ARG Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna 02h57m59s
2 Sanders Daniel 4 AUS Gas Gas Factory Team Gas Gas 02h59m37s
3 Price Toby 18 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 02h59m55s
4 Howes Skyler 10 USA Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna 03h00m08s
5 Quintanilla Pablo 7 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 03h00m53s
14 Cornejo José Ignacio 11 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 03h06m35s
17 Van Beveren Adrien 42 FRA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 03h07m09s

Dakar Rally 2023 Stage 11

Location Information

Dakar in Saudi From 2020

Records

Dakar 2020 winner Ricky Brabec (Honda)
Dakar 2021 winner Kevin Benavides (Honda)