Issue #13:January 13, 2023
On January 12, the 2023 Dakar Rally entered the 2-day marathon stage starting in Shaybah in southeastern Saudi Arabia. The first day of the marathon featured a 275km competition stage situated between Shaybah and the marathon bivouac in the Empty Quarter, where the TLC Land Cruiser 300 cars reached the finish. Despite getting stuck, Akira Miura and Laurent Lichtleuchter in car #246 only lost about 5 minutes. They had no punctures and came in 98th place overall in the car category, and 1st in the production car category.
Meanwhile, Ronald Basso and Jean-Michel Polato in car #250 had the misfortune of breaking an engine belt early in the stage, costing them an hour in repair time. Then, they had a tire de-bead (when a tire comes off the rim because tire pressure has been lowered to improve driving performance on dunes). The sun set before the finish, further delaying their arrival, but they ended the stage in 123rd place overall and 2nd place in their category. With these results, the cumulative ranking for car #250 is 95th place overall and 1st in the production car category, while car #246 is 116th place overall and 2nd in their category.
The stage today began with a 151km liaison to the east of the bivouac in Shaybah, followed by the start of the SS. The course was set in an area with the United Arab Emirates to the north and Oman’s border close by to the east and included sand dunes with countless sections of difficult terrain and dry salt lakes. The finish was set up at a bivouac near the border with Oman. As a marathon stage, no mechanics or support teams can be present, so the TLC drivers and mechanics performed vehicle maintenance on their own.
The cars were stored in the parc fermé (vehicle storage area), and the crew prepared for the competition on the 13th in a large tent provided by the organizers.