As tight as the battles up front are in the overall T3 Lightweight Prototype and T4 SSV standings, it was a pair of racers outside of the fight for the overall win who scored Stage 8 victories in the 2023 Dakar Rally on Sunday. Joao Ferreira paced the T3 division with a time of 4:11:36, just 17 seconds ahead of Chaleco Lopez for the stage win, while Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli’s 4:16:18 gave him more than three minutes on second place Yasir Seaidan in T4.
All three Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team racers took a top 10 on the shortened 345-kilometer route from Al Duwadimi back to Riyadh today, as Mitch Guthrie Jr. and AJ Jones finished third and fourth and Seth Quintero rounded out the top 10. That allowed both Jones and Quintero to make up some time on Guillaume De Mevius, who finished 11th on the day; De Mevius’ overall lead on Jones is down to 3:19 as a result, while Quintero continues to chip away at just over an hour behind De Mevius in third.
It was the same story for T4 leader Rokas Baciuska, who finished outside of the top 10 himself and allowed the father-son duo of Marek and Eryk Goczal, as well as Gerard Farres, to make up some time in the overall standings. Farres was best of the group in third, part of a podium lockout and five finishers in the top six for South Racing Can-Am, while both Goczals scored top 10s on the stage as well.
As a result, T4 is the second closest-fought division in the rally, behind only the motorcycles, which have eight riders within 10 minutes of one another. Baciuska’s lead over Marek Goczal sits at 4:34, with Eryk Goczal third at 5:48 back and Farres fourth and 6:19 off the lead. Baciuska’s early 15-minute penalty, suffered on the first stage of the event, continues to make most of the difference.
2023 Dakar Rally Stage 8 winners were as follows:
- Lightweight Prototype: Joao Ferreira, 4:11:36
- SSV: Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli, 4:16:18
2023 Dakar Rally class leaders are as follows:
- Lightweight Prototype: Guillaume De Mevius, 36:03:09
- SSV: Rokas Baciuska, 37:33:31
Coverage of today’s Dakar Rally action will debut on Peacock at 6:30PM ET. Tomorrow’s rest day in Riyadh will see competitors regroup for six more days of action, but with only two of those stages offering more than 200 kilometers of special stages—not to mention the Empty Quarter Marathon stage on Thursday and Friday—competitors will need to be perfect to bring home top honors when all is said and done.