Austin Jones Becomes Youngest Back-to-Back Dakar Champion in T3, Eryk Goczal Becomes Youngest Dakar Winner in T4
VALCOURT, QC, Jan. 17, 2023 /CNW Telbec/ - Can-Am, a brand of BRP (TSX: DOO) (NASDAQ: DOOO), has won its sixth straight Dakar Rally, winning both the T3 Lightweight Prototype class and T4 Modified Production class. Austin Jones and Seth Quintero, with the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team, secured first and second overall in the T3 Lightweight Prototype class in their Can-Am Maverick X3 machines. In the T4 class, Eryk Goczal won in his Energylandia South Racing Can-Am machine, becoming the youngest Dakar Rally winner at 18-years old, followed by Rokas Baciuška of the Red Bull Factory Can-Am team in second, and Marek Goczal in third, for a T4 podium sweep. This accomplishment is a major statement at the world's hardest off-road race, with 15 days of racing and covering 8,500 kilometers of brutal Saudi Arabian terrain.
"Seeing our teams go out and already break boundaries, set new records, and reach new levels of success is truly inspiring for all of us." said Anne-Marie LaBerge, Chief Marketing Officer at BRP. "We congratulate the team and are eager to celebrate many more important milestones with them."
"The team performed exceptionally, taking home 25 out of the 26 cars. This Dakar was particularly challenging, and the fact that we achieved success in both T3 and T4 categories is a testament to our strength. We are grateful to all who contributed to our success and are now looking forward to a much-needed rest," said Scott Abraham, Team Principal of South Racing and Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team.
As the racing got underway in the T3 class, it was Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez who would jump to the early overall lead after the first two stages, but would relinquish the lead to Seth Quintero after brutal weather conditions struck on the third stage. Quintero then suffered his own technical issues during the fourth stage and would relinquish the lead, but luckily Austin Jones' win on stage three and other consistent finishes were adding up to keep him in the battle for the overall win. Jones grabbed the overall lead after stage 11 and never looked back, driving a smart and consistent race all the way to the finish. Jones and his co-pilot, Gustavo Gugelmini finished the 8,500 km race in 51:55.53, followed by Quintero in second, Cristina Gutierrez in fourth, and Chaleco in fifth. Every member of the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team in the T3 class secured at least one stage win, for a total of 6 stage wins and 13 podium finishes throughout the race.
"The last leg was really hard. There was a ton of mud, and I was really anxious, but we managed to make it to the end. This has been the most difficult Dakar I've ever raced. We've had our share of highs and lows, but we kept going and here we are back-to-back champions! We're ecstatic, a big shout-out to the whole team and my navigator Gustavo who did an incredible job. It was an awesome journey around Saudi Arabia. I'm not thinking about next year yet, but I'll be back!" said Austin Jones, Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team Racer and youngest back-to-back two-time Dakar winner.
The T4 category was action packed from start to finish. A battle between Rokas Baciuška of the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team and rookie Eryk Goczal of the South Racing Can-Am Squad, would keep the race exciting all the way to the checkered flag. would come out strong, with wins on stages one and four, but Baciuška would respond quickly with wins on stages five and seven that would give him the overall lead. The race remained tight between the two all the way to the final stage, with two racers trading wins throughout. Baciuška would maintain the overall lead until the last stage, where he encountered some issues, Goczal would go on to take the overall win, making him the youngest Dakar Rally winner in history. The rookie and his co-pilot, Oriol Mena, finished the race with an overall time of 53:10.14, followed by Baciuška in second, and Marek Goczal in third for a Can-Am podium sweep.
"This is my first Dakar. It's one of my dreams to be here, I couldn't be more thankful for my family and team, they made this all possible. We took a big risk to go for the overall lead a few days ago, I gave it everything I had and it paid off," said Eryk Goczal, Energylandia South Racing Can-Am Racer and rookie Dakar winner.
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