His hopes of overall glory at the 2023 Dakar Rally may be no longer, but American standout Mitch Guthrie Jr. remains a threat to win any stage he faces in the world’s foremost rally raid. Today, Guthrie paced all UTV racers in the 333 kilometers of special stage from Riyadh to Al Duwadimi, posting a time of 3:39:37 to beat defending race winner Chaleco Lopez in the T3 Lightweight Prototype class.
Overall T3 leader Guillaume De Mevius was seventh on the day, giving up handfuls of time to Guthrie’s Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team teammates and current podium contenders AJ Jones and Seth Quintero. However, De Mevius remains 8:29 clear of Jones and more than an hour ahead of Quintero in the overall rankings as the rally reaches its halfway point.
But while De Mevius was able to maintain his overall advantage in T3, the T4 SSV division saw the opposite. Incoming leader Rodrigo Luppi had 20 minutes on the field; now, he’s 20 minutes out of the top spot, and no longer even in the top five. The lead now belongs to Rokas Baciuska, who finally finished his comeback from the 15 minutes of penalties he took at the beginning of the event to win Stage 7 and take the advantage over the father-son duo of Marek and Eryk Goczal.
The past few days of stages have represented major alterations from what anyone in the field had planned for. Stage 6 from Ha’il was shortened and rerouted the field to Riyadh after the bivouac wasn’t completed at Al Duwadimi in time due to weather, and Stages 7 and 8 became an impromptu marathon stage as well. The two UTV divisions joined the cars and trucks as the only classes in action today, with special stage competition called off for the motorcycles and quads.
2023 Dakar Rally Stage 7 winners were as follows:
- Lightweight Prototype: Mitch Guthrie Jr., 3:39:37
- SSV: Rokas Baciuska, 3:45:34
2023 Dakar Rally class leaders are as follows:
- Lightweight Prototype: Guillaume De Mevius, 31:43:12
- SSV: Rokas Baciuska, 33:08:46
Coverage of today’s Dakar Rally action will debut on Peacock at 6:30PM ET. Tomorrow’s Stage 8 to Riyadh features the longest special stage of the rally at 473 kilometers, an even more difficult challenge after today’s marathon mode sees competitors’ vehicles locked in a secure area for most of tonight.