Dakar Rally 2023: Hero MotoSports Stage 9 and Stage 10 update
Stage 9 of the Dakar Rally commenced a comeback of the action for Hero MotoSports Team Rally after a well-deserved rest day, with Ross Branch, the winner of the previous stage, opening the day’s stage. Branch finished 19th overall in the Rally GP Class with Franco Caimi ranking 14th overall. Meanwhile, Sebastian Buhler finished 17th overall at the end of Stage 9. Ross Branch also went on to win Stage 10 triumphantly for Hero MotoSports
Dakar Rally 2023 Stage 9
Stage 9 of the Dakar Rally 2023 began after a rest day post Stage 8, the 686km route taking competitors eastwards from Riyadh to Haradh. Navigation was tricky, and perhaps the most difficult so far on the 2023 Dakar. Ross Branch had won the previous stage and would open Stage 9, and Branch knew it would be a difficult task to ride on the tricky route. After losing some time in the stage, the Botswanan found himself in 19th place overall at the end of stage 9 in the Rally GP Class. Franco Caimi finished the race just ten minutes behind the winner, and his 8th place finish helped to move up the overall standing, ranking 14th overall in the Rally GP class. Sebastian Buhler found the stage difficult due to tricky navigation, and ended up losing time around a waypoint, but he picked up the place and finished the stage in 12th place, ranking 17th overall in the Rally GP Class standings. The Dakar Rally then forayed into the infamous Empty Quarter, with a 624km ride from Haradh to Shaybah. The special stage however will only be 113km, with this tricky stage consisting of sand dunes for 90 per cent of the distance.
Dakar Rally 2023 Stage 10
Stage 10 was won by Ross Branch, this being his second stage win on this year’s Dakar. Starting in 28th place, Branch posted the fastest times of the stage at each checkpoint, emerging the winner in Stage 10. Franco Caimi finished the stage in the 8th place, just four minutes behind Ross. Sebastian Buhler finished the stage in 17th place. At the end of stage 10, Franco Caimi was in 13th place in the class standings, followed by Buhler in 17th and Ross in 19th place.
The Dakar Rally now moves through the Empty Quarter with a Marathon Stage – the first part of Stage 11 being a 428km ride from Shaybah to the Marathon bivouac – and keeping their bikes in one piece will be crucial, as there won’t be any assistance trucks or mechanics lending the riders a hand at the bivouac.