After multiple days of strong stage finishes, including two wins, that gave him the overall lead of the 2023 Dakar Rally, it all came apart just as quickly for Mitch Guthrie Jr. in Thursday’s Stage 5 loop. The second trek from Ha’il and back wasn’t as kind to the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team driver as the first was, initially costing him more than four hours of repairs before the halfway mark of the stage before continued issues brought his hopes of a maiden Dakar victory to an end. Guthrie had withdrawn from each of his first two Dakar attempts before missing last year due to illness.
That opened the door for Guillaume De Mevius to jump into the overall lead of the event in the T3 Lightweight Prototype class, which he took over with a fourth place finish on stage today. De Mevius now boasts a 7:20 advantage over AJ Jones, the newest member of the Red Bull squad, whose decision to move up to T3 instead of defending last year’s win in T4 SSV has thus far paid dividends with five top-fives on stage, including a third place today.
Instead, the day’s win—finally—went to Seth Quintero, who used it to jump back into third place overall. Quintero’s rapid pace in his first two Dakar attempts had seen him score six stage wins as a rookie and 12 last year, but mechanical troubles in both cases kept him well out of the overall hunt. Thus far, trouble hasn’t hit him quite as hard yet, and he remains within 65 minutes of the overall lead.
In T4, Rokas Baciuska continues to be a daily threat for stage wins, as he edged out Cristiano Batista by just five seconds in today’s action. Overall leader Rodrigo Luppi was fifth on the day, outpacing all three Goczal family members in sixth, seventh, and eighth to add nearly three mintues to his overall advantage over two-time stage winner Eryk Goczal. Baciuska is third, now within four minutes of the youngest Goczal in second, but with more than 20 minutes yet to make up on Luppi.
2023 Dakar Rally Stage 5 winners were as follows:
- Lightweight Prototype: Seth Quintero, 4:59:55
- SSV: Rokas Baciuska, 5:02:52
2023 Dakar Rally class leaders are as follows:
- Lightweight Prototype: Guillaume De Mevius, 24:15:39
- SSV: Rodrigo Luppi, 25:13:20
Coverage of today’s Dakar Rally action will debut on Peacock at 6:30PM ET. Tomorrow’s Stage 6 takes racers to Al Duwadimi, as the longest two special stages of the rally will greet them over the next two days.