Today it was time to say goodbye to the 2023 edition of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia, after the 14th stage held between Al-Hofuf and Dammam. This completed the 8.549 kilometers of the round one from the World Rally Raid Championship, with the most mythical and certainly hard motorsports off-road competition of all times. This way it also completed the trip from coast to coast, connecting the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf.
Monster Energy Honda Team finished the race with three of its four riders, since American and Dakar winner Ricky Brabec had to abandon the race at stage three. The pace was quite high in this last stage, with a short special section 136 kilometers long. This is the year of the rain and mud in a quite unusual Dakar Rally so today this was no exception. With the riders starting in reverse order, spectators could pay tribute to all Dakar heroes. Pablo Quintanilla was the fastest one among the team, with third position on this last stage (03:15 minutes gap) – a result that put him in fourth position overall. Adrien Van Beveren was eight (04:51 minutes gap) and finished this Dakar in 5th position. Finally, José Ignacio Cornejo faced some difficulties after being trapped in the mud and ended in the 34th place. Despite this adversity, the Chilean was able to secure his 8th place overall.
The W2RC championship will return at the end of February keeping the action in the Middle East region. Monster Energy Honda Team is already working on the next stop that will travel to the United Arab Emirates, with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, from 25th February to the third of March.
Ruben Faria - General Manager
“Another Dakar Rally is over and Monster Energy Honda Team was certainly a very relevant squad along the way. We lost Ricky Brabec in a very early phase and kept on track with the other three riders - Pablo Quintanilla, Adrien Van Beveren and José Ignacio Cortejo. I know they did their best every day and in every stage. The final outcome is not what we came here for but this is the Dakar, so let’s continue to work hard as a united team and face the rest of the season with the same winning spirit. ”
José Ignacio Cornejo #11
“So here we are at the finish line this year, I am happy to reach the end of this Dakar Rally. This one was for sure one of the hardest ones I have ever raced. The result was not what I expected, but I know I did my best at every stage. Now I want to thank the team, family and my fans for all the support. ”
Pablo Quintanilla #7
“I am quite happy to be able to finish this Dakar Rally 2023 in Saudi Arabia. Of course this was not the result we were searching for but the feeling is good. I know that I gave one hundred percent every day so I just want to say I am thankful for all the support from the team and this doesn’t go only to the Dakar - it is a year long job. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t - it’s part of the race. ”
Adrien Van Beveren #42
“It’s good to be at the finish, I have to be happy even if this is not a dream result. To finish the Dakar Rally is always a victory and now I remember other times where I could finish due to crashes when I was at the hospital looking at the other on TV. We had a really strong race, I have to remember that. I can’t point out one big mistake I made, the race was a sprint almost everyday.”