On a day where four of the headline classes of the 2023 Dakar Rally saw stage winners decided by 62 seconds or less, the two side-by-side divisions produced the biggest thrills of all in Stage 9. Eryk Goczal, the youngest stage winner in Dakar history, took his third T4 SSV class win by just 46 seconds, while only 12 seconds separated the entire podium in T3 Lightweight Prototype.
But while current leader Guillaume De Mevius, defending winner Chaleco Lopez, and the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team of Mitch Guthrie Jr., Seth Quintero, and AJ Jones have been the dominant forces in T3 so far this year, it was a different name—David Zille—who stole the stage win in the 359 kilometers of special stage from Riyadh to Haradh. Zille’s 3:38:00 nipped De Mevius by just two seconds, and Guthrie by 12, when all was said and done.
It was a hotly contested day of racing where three of the six premier classes (including the cars) were decided by less than a minute, and Benavides’ motorcycle win was just over that at 62 seconds. The T3 Lightweight Prototype class saw the closest of all: overall leader Guillaume De Mevius and Mitch Guthrie Jr. were both in the top three, but Argentina’s David Zille nipped them by two and 12 seconds, respectively. It was the first career stage win for the Argentine driver, one of many drivers in the South Racing Can-Am stable in this year’s event.
In T4, Goczal’s class win came over class leader Rokas Baciuska, while his uncle Michal Goczal was only 57 seconds back as well in third. Baciuska maintains the overall lead over the youngest Goczal by just over five minutes, while veteran Gerard Farres completes the podium. De Mevius extended his overall lead on Jones in T3 to 12:43, while Quintero remains more than an hour and a half clear of Lopez for the final podium spot in the class.
2023 Dakar Rally Stage 9 winners were as follows:
- Lightweight Prototype: David Zille, 3:38:00
- SSV: Eryk Goczal, 3:42:20
2023 Dakar Rally class leaders are as follows:
- Lightweight Prototype: Guillaume De Mevius, 39:41:11
- SSV: Rokas Baciuska, 41:16:37
Coverage of today’s Dakar Rally action will debut on Peacock at 6:30PM ET. Tomorrow’s Stage 10 takes competitors from Haradh to Shaybah as they approach the Empty Quarter, but most of the mileage will be transit; at 114 kilometers, it’s the shortest special stage route of the rally, excluding the Prologue.