Mitch Guthrie Jr. took another stage win in T3 Lightweight Prototype, and Michal Goczal returned to the top of the charts in T4 SSV, as the 2023 Dakar Rally wrapped up its Empty Quarter Marathon with a 185-kilometer special stage route back to Shaybah on Friday. Stage 12 saw both classes decided by less than 30 seconds, with Goczal beating Rokas Baciuska through the route by just 13 seconds and Guthrie ahead of Ignacio Casale by 29 and Guillaume De Mevius by 52.
It was a strong performance by both Guthrie and De Mevius in particular. Guthrie’s hopes of an overall Dakar win were dashed by a mechanical failure from the lead last week, but he continues to win stages and is back to 24th overall despite his 17 hours of penalty time. De Mevius also lost the overall lead to mechanical issues in the first leg of the Empty Quarter Marathon, even though he remains on the overall podium.
The bad news for De Mevius is that there’s still a long way to go to catch Guthrie’s Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team compatriots AJ Jones and Seth Quintero. Jones was fifth on stage today, only giving back a little more than two minutes to De Mevius; Quintero fell back over an hour behind the overall lead with a 13th place finish on stage, but he’s still got more than 20 minutes in hand on De Mevius with just two of the shortest special stages of the rally remaining.
The T4 class remains quite a bit closer. Baciuska’s closest challengers, the father-son duo of Marek and Eryk Goczal, came in third and fourth on stage today to keep the gaps on the smaller side. The younger Goczal remains second overall, just 7:43 off Baciuska’s overall lead, while the elder Goczal is just 16:43 back. That spread is the second-closest match of any major division in the event with just two more days of action ahead.
2023 Dakar Rally Stage 12 winners were as follows:
- Lightweight Prototype: Mitch Guthrie Jr., 2:17:11
- SSV: Michal Goczal, 2:19:07
2023 Dakar Rally class leaders are as follows:
- Lightweight Prototype: AJ Jones, 47:39:47
- SSV: Rokas Baciuska, 49:02:02
Coverage of today’s Dakar Rally action will debut on Peacock at 6:30PM ET. Tomorrow’s Stage 13 takes racers from Shaybah to Al-Hofuf, with just 154 kilometers of special stages facing them in the penultimate leg of the route to Dammam for the finish.