There have been so many dunes now for the participants of the Dakar Rally 2023 in a few days that it was getting a little boring. The thirteenth stage was no exception. “The same sand, the same dunes. 150 kilometers up, down, up, down. It became a bit monotonous.” Tom Coronel said.
“The same sand, the same dunes. 150 kilometers up, down, up, down. It became a bit monotonous”
Tom Coronel – Dakar Co-Driver
Brother Tim agreed. “Bumpy bumps, that’s all it was.” While bumping, Tim and Tom drove the 22nd fastest time in the stage that led the competitors back out of the Empty Quarter, back into civilization. “Super nice,” Tim thought, “but now I’ve seen it. We didn’t take any risks and kept the focus on the finish. We did see a few driving the wrong way along the way, or on their roofs, including Brian Baragwanath. So that was an extra warning to keep our heads up, especially when it’s so monotonous.”
The dunes in the stage from Shaybah to Al Hofuf were high and gentle, but not very difficult. “There were two climbs in there that you did have to prepare for, especially with the tires,” Tom explained. “We got through those without any problems, we never got stuck. We only lost some time because we were stuck behind a SSV. At one point we just decided not to start pushing, but just stay behind it.”
At the finish of the race test, after 153 kilometers, Tim and Tom noticed that the homokineet was leaking some grease. “We fixed that with duct tape and tiewraps, hoping it would stay good for 500 kilometers.” There was that distance to cover from the finish to the bivouac in Al Hofuf; the last bivouac of this Dakar. Tomorrow another 136-kilometer test is scheduled and then the finish line awaits in Damman.