Dakar 2023: Loprais improves by four places to second position


InstaForex Loprais Team had a successful start to the Dakar Rally 2023. Following a good result in the Prologue, Ales Loprais added another great performance in the opening stage.

The first stage of the Dakar Rally 2023 consisted of a loop around a Sea Camp bivouac. Its special stage was 368 kilometers long and led mostly through gravel routes, rocky mountain ranges, and bedrocks, but also included sand stretches and dunes. From the very beginning, there was a fierce battle for the top positions in the trucks category. All in the hands of highly experienced crews, but they had to watch out for younger, less experienced, but even more ambitious youngsters.

However, the Praga V4S DKR #508 handled all the terrain challenges without a hiccup. At a high speed, the crew got through groups of cars and buggies. In the end, the team set the second fastest time of the day. Aleš Loprais with Jaroslav Valtr jr. and Petr Pokora improved by four positions to jump to second place in the overall standings, just five minutes behind the leader, Martin Macík. Behind them is Dutch driver Mitchel van den Brink in third position, over four minutes behind Loprais.

Dakar 2022

“The first stage was surprisingly difficult. Our starting position wasn’t exactly perfect, and we had to deal with dust from buggies and cars from the beginning,” Aleš Loprais described.

“The whole first half was mostly on rocks, even though the organizers promised that only a little percentage of the route would lead through them. I had to be very careful in those parts, to avoid a puncture. But still, the truck had to survive many hits. We then tried to catch up some time in the desert, as the terrain had opened up.”

Dakar 2022

“I feel sorry for some of the rookies, especially out there in the dunes and this difficult opening stage is still ahead of them,” the 17-time participant of the most famous marathon rally in the world said as he shared his sympathy for those, who fell for the magic of this event much later and they are still getting used to all the challenges that are so typical for Dakar.

“I think it shows in which way this year’s Dakar is going to go. And what kind of difficulty did the organizers have in mind for this race. It started to get dark as we were finishing the stage, and there were still so many other cars and trucks behind us. I think that they’re having a rough time out there, so let’s hope they can handle it and finish it.”

Dakar 2022

On Monday, January 2, the Dakar Rally 2023 participants are finally going to leave the bivouac at the Sea Camp. The whole competition will move from the Red Sea coast to the northeast inland of Saudi Arabia. As for the second stage, the road to Al-Ula will be 590 kilometers long, with a 430-kilometer special stage. The drivers can expect very challenging routes through canyons and rock cliffs. And of course, there will be some dunes again.

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