It was certainly a good day for the riders of the Monster Energy Honda Team! Special stage number one at the Dakar Rally 2023 brought 369 km of action throughout sandy and stony tracks, with start point and arrival at the Sea Camp bivouac -- close to Yanbu (South Arabia).
American Ricky Brabec was the stage winner on a day where all team riders were in the spotlight.
With this result, Brabec -- the 2020 Dakar winner -- gets into first position in the overall standings. Pablo Quintanilla (Chile) was seventh, Adrien Van Beveren (France) was ranked ninth and Jose Ignacio Cornejo - who had the hard mission to open the stage - finished in 10th place in this first stage.
On Tuesday the second stage from this year's Dakar Rally will leave the Sea Camp in the direction of Al-Ula. This special stage will have 430 kilometers of closed tracks demanding great handling skills, so riders will get mainly dirt tracks (59%), stones (26%) and just a little taste of sand (14% sand tracks and one percent of dunes).
Besides this competitive section, there is also another 159 kilometers of liaison. Navigation will be key as participants reach the splendid canyons and beautiful landscapes near the finish. According to the ASO organisation, the stage will be decided on the dunes, with some of the majestic Nabataean temples visible on the landscape.
Ruben Faria, General Manager, said, "I know we are just starting, but I have to say I feel really proud of our team. All riders performed incredibly well and the results are there. All the team is feeling good and are doing the right steps. We have been here before and will continue to fight for consistency in the days to come.
Ricky Brabec said, "Goal number one was not to open the stage. I feel quite well and confident after today, but I will just try to go day by day, keep pace and stay in the Top 10. It's going to be hard to be out of the lead - like we saw today - but we have to see how it goes until the rest day. Today was fairly simple, no stress, it was a great day!"