Dakar Rally 2023, Stage 10: Sebastien Loeb continues late push with third consecutive win


Sebastien Loeb remained dominant in Stage 10 of the 2023 Dakar Rally with his third consecutive victory, but Nasser Al-Attiyah still controls the overall standings in the premier car category.

The Bahrain Raid Xtreme driver cut nearly 6 minutes off Al-Attiyah’s lead with his fourth stage victory in the No. 201 Prodrive Hunter, winning the short 114-kilometer special in 1 hour, 48 minutes, 32 seconds over Mattias Ekstrom and Lucas Moraes.

“It was a good stage for us,” said Loeb, a legendary champion of World Rallycross who is seeking his first Dakar Rally victory in his sixth start. “No mistakes, no problems. Only dunes for more than 100 kilometers. It was quite demanding, but the feeling was good with the car. We were the first on the track, but we had the motorbike tracks. It was OK; no troubles.”

The Frenchman remained third in the overall standings but still trails Al-Attiyah by 1 hour, 37 minutes and 23 seconds.

With four stages remaining, Al-Attiyah has a 1:21:34 lead over Moraes after the four-time Qatari champion finished fourth in Stage 10 (5 minutes, 45 seconds behind Loeb).

“The special was short but tough,” Al-Attiyah said. “We got to the Empty Quarter. It was a good day to test things for tomorrow. We know what we need. I’m pleased. I’ve got a good feeling with the car. We didn’t make any mistakes. I didn’t push too hard today. I didn’t want to take risks. The marathon stage is tomorrow.”

A critical Stage 11 — with a marathon 275-kilometer special (more than double of Stage 10) — looms for the Dakar Rally in what could be the last opportunity for big movement in the standings. The event now has entered the Empty Quarter section that is dominated by dunes and sand.

In the bike category, American rider Skyler Howes slipped to second overall behind Kevin Benavides by 1 minute, 29 seconds with an 18th in Stage 10 because of a minor fall that brought some chuckles on social media (via the Dakar Rally account). Howes had kicked his feet out just before tumbling.

“Here in these dunes, there’s some drops and holes and all kinds of crazy stuff you can find yourself into and also some really soft sand on some landings of jumps,” Howes said. “Which I’m sure you’ll see. So yeah, it hurt my ego a little bit, but anything for the fans.

“It definitely was 100 percent dunes. Really technical. At the beginning, there were lots of drops and scary downhills, so we took it slow and easy to make it through for the marathon stage.”

Howes, who is trying to become the second U.S. rider to win Dakar, is optimistic about his Husqvarna Factory 450 Rally heading into the marathon stage.

“I just wanted to make it through this stage today and get ready for the marathon stage,” he said. “On short stages like this, you can definitely lose it, but trying to win it is not necessary.”

In the T3 category, Seth Quintero won Stage 10 and regained some time to overall leader Guillaume De Mevius, who finished 9 minutes, 30 seconds behind in 12th.

“Safe to say it was absolutely amazing,” Quintero said after his second stage victory of 2023. “I woke up today with a lot to prove. We’ve had some pretty off days with just some issues we’ve had. Today, we absolutely sent it and looks like we got the win by a good margin. We really couldn’t have asked for a better day today. We’re just going to keep chugging along and see what happens in the end. We’ve got a long way to go.”

A.J. Jones, a teammate to Quintero on the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, finished sixth in Stage 10 and is second overall, 7 minutes, 48 seconds off the lead of De Mevius with four stages left.

“Not a bad day for us,” De Mevius said. “We started the stage with a roll in the dunes. It was quite a scary moment, but some members of the public helped us get back on the way, so thank you to them. We had to change a wheel because we’d damaged a tire. We lost quite a bit of time. It was quite difficult to find our rhythm on the dunes. It was very different from the beginning of the race, now it’ll be like this for some days.”

There was a change in the overall lead of the truck category after Ales Loprais was involved in an incident that killed an Italian spectator. Loprais had been leading through Stage 9 but abandoned the rally to support local authorities after learning of the death upon return to the bivouac Tuesday night.

NBC Sports’ daily 6:30 p.m. ET coverage of the 2023 Dakar Rally will continue tonight on Peacock’s NBC Sports channel.

NEXT: The marathon stage will cover 426 kilometers (275 against the clock in the special) from Shaybah into the Empty Quarter and extreme endurance territory on sand of every color. Staying out of trouble is critical with no assistance trucks or mechanics available at the bivouac.

Here are the stage winners and the top three in the overall rankings for each category (along with U.S. notables) after Stage 10 of the 2023 Dakar Rally:


Stage 10 winner: Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Bahrain Raid Xtreme, 1:48:32

General rankings: 1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Toyota Gazoo Racing, 36:13:37; 2. Lucas Moraes (BRA), Overdrive Racing, 37:35:11; 3. Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Bahrain Raid Xtreme, 37:51:00.


Stage 10 winner: Ross Branch (BWA), Hero Motorsports Team Rally, 1:44:00

General rankings: 1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 35:46:06; 2. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna Factory Racing, 35:47:35; 3. Toby Price (AUS), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 35:48:16. U.S. notables: 6. Mason Klein (USA), BAS world KTM Racing Team, 36:01:44;  24. Jacob Argubright, Duust Co Rally Team, 39:32:24; 50. Pablo Copetti, Del Amo Motorsports, 46:36:35; 61. Petr Vlcek, Detyens Racing, 49:00:52; 90. Morrison Hart, American Rally Originals, 67:29:02; 97. James Pearson, American Rally Originals, 112:53:21. Withdrawal (excluded): Kyle McCoy (USA), American Rally Originals; David Pearson (USA), American Rally Originals; Lawrence Ace Nilson (USA), Duust Rally Team,. Withdrew: Ricky Brabec (USA), Monster Energy Honda, 9:42:49; Paul Neff, American Rally Originals, 61:36:48.


Stage 10 winner: Marcelo Medeiros (BRA), Taguatur Racing Team, 2:04:28

General rankings: 1. Alexandre Giroud (FRA), Yamaha Racing, 44:35:00; 2. Francisco Moreno Flores (ARG), Dragon, 45:52:56; 3. Manual Andjuar (ARG), 7420 Team, 46:13:44; 4. Pablo Copetti (USA), Del Amo Motorsports, 46:36:35.

T3 light prototype

Stage 10 winner: Seth Quintero (USA), Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, 1:55:17

General rankings: 1. Guillaume De Mevius (BEL), Grally Team, 41:45:58; 2. Austin “A.J.” Jones (USA), Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, 41:53:46; 3. Seth Quintero (USA), Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, 42:49:40. U.S. notable: 28. Mitch Guthrie, Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, 66:16:33.


Stage 10 winner: Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), South Racing Can-Am, 1:58:22

General rankings: 1. Rokas Baciuska (LTU), Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team, 43:17:29; 2. Eryk Goczal (POL), Energylandia Rally Team, 43:21:09; 3. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), South Racing Can-Am, 43:24:16.


Stage 10 winner: Pascal De Baar (NLD), Riwald Dakar Team, 2:09:46

General rankings: 1. Janus Van Kastren (NLD), Boss Machinery Team De Rooy Iveco, 43:00:51; 2. Martin Van Den Brink (NLD), Eurol Team De Rooy Iveco, 43:23:32; 3. Martin Macik (CZE), MM Technology, 43:51:58.


PROLOGUE: Mattias Ekstrom leads Audi charge

STAGE 1: Ricky Brabec opens with victory; Carlos Sainz keeps Audi on top

STAGE 2: Mason Klein continues U.S. surge in bikes

STAGE 3: Brabec is eliminated by crash as inclement weather shortens stage

STAGE 4: Mason Klein, Skyler Howes overcome adversity

STAGE 5: Skyler Howes moves into overall lead in bikes

STAGE 6: Disastrous day for Audi as crashes eliminate contenders

STAGE 7: Americans excel in T3 light prototype

STAGE 8: Mason Klein, Skyler Howes keep U.S. riders at front

STAGE 9: Carlos Sainz forced to abandon event after another crash

SKYLER HOWES’ SPIRITUAL QUEST: American rider takes a gratifying road to overall lead

U.S. EXCELS IN ‘OLYMPICS OF OFF ROAD’: American T3 drivers stay on charge for Red Bull

AUDI CONTROVERSY: Electric hybrids given power boost

CARRYING THE FLAGU.S. drivers and riders in the 2023 Dakar Rally

Kyle Larson wins third consecutive High Limit Sprint race at Eagle Raceway, Rico Abreu second again

Larson High Limit Eagle
High Limit Racing - Twitter

It took four attempts for Kyle Larson to win his first High Limit Sprint Car Series race in the series he co-owns with brother-in-law Brad Sweet, but once he found victory lane, he has been undefeated with his win at Eagle (Nebraska) Raceway. For the second week, Abreu led early only to fall prey to Larson.

The win was Larson’s third straight victory and the fifth consecutive top-five, giving him a perfect sweep of the season after finishing 10th in last year’s inaugural race at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana.

Larson started third behind Abreu and Brent Marks but was embroiled in a fierce battle with Anthony Macri for third during the first dozen laps. Larson slipped by Macri in traffic until a red flag waved for a flip by Lachlan McHugh.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack, Marks retook the lead from Abreu on Lap 18. Larson followed one lap later and then caution waved again. Tyler Courtney lost power and fell to 24th after starting eighth.

Marks scooted away on the restart but tragedy struck in Lap 26. Leading the race, Marks hit a pothole in Turn 1, bicycled and then flipped, handing the lead to Larson.

Abreu caught Larson again during the final laps and in a reprise of their battle at Tri-City Speedway, the two threw sliders at one another for several laps until Larson built some separation and ran away to the checkers.

“I didn’t feel like my pace in [Turns] 1 & 2 slowed down a ton,” Larson said from victory lane. “I missed it once there and then I saw his nose in 3 & 4. I didn’t know if he nailed the bottom that well behind me and I think he might have slid me in the next corner, so he was definitely on the top.

“I was nervous to move up there because my car was really pogoing up in the entry of 1. I got up just in time, made a few mistakes and he threw a couple more sliders at me but he was just a little too far back and I was able to squirt around him. Then I really had to commit to hitting my marks – back my effort down a bit to avoid mistakes.”

After leading early, Abreu fell back as far as sixth, but faith in his car kept hope alive.

“I just needed to do a few things a few laps before I did and fix some angles, then my car got a whole lot better,” Abreu said. “I’m thankful for this team; they do an amazing job. They don’t give up on me. I know my car is going to be there right at the end of these races, so it’s just the discipline of being patient.”

For Abreu, it was his third near-miss this season. He was leading at Lakeside in the 2023 opener until a tire went flat in the closing laps and he lost the lead to Larson late in the Tri-City Speedway race. Abreu has finished sixth or better in his last three High Limit races with each result being progressively better until his pair of runner-up results.

Third-place finisher Scelzi was the hard charger, advancing from 17th.

“I had a very specific plan; don’t go near [the hole in Turn 1],” Scelzi said. “It worked out. No one wanted to start on the top. I think I gained a couple of rows there on the choose cone and ran the middle, which seemed to be better than right around the bottom.”

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid in fourth and Macri rounded out the top five.

World of Outlaws star and former NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne was one of 41 entrants, but he was not among the 26 starters. He failed to advance to the Main after finishing eighth in the B Main and seventh in his heat.

Feature Results

A Feature (40 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson[4]; 2. 24-Rico Abreu[1]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[17]; 4. 71-Michael Kofoid[5]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri[3]; 6. 9-Chase Randall[9]; 7. 26-Zeb Wise[14]; 8. 1X-Jake Bubak[15]; 9. 8-Aaron Reutzel[10]; 10. 14D-Corey Day[18]; 11. 11-Cory Eliason[12]; 12. 5T-Ryan Timms[11]; 13. 88-Austin McCarl[13]; 14. 21H-Brady Bacon[22]; 15. 48-Danny Dietrich[16]; 16. 7S-Robbie Price[19]; 17. 21-Brian Brown[23]; 18. 22-Riley Goodno[26]; 19. 52-Blake Hahn[25]; 20. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[21]; 21. 3J-Dusty Zomer[6]; 22. 14-Cole Macedo[7]; 23. 19-Brent Marks[2]; 24. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[8]; 25. 25-Lachlan McHugh[20]; 26. 53-Jack Dover[24]

2023 High Limit Sprint Car Series

Race 1: Giovanni Scelzi wins at Lakeside Speedway
Race2: Anthony Macri wins at 34 Raceway
Race 3: Kyle Larson wins at Wayne County Speedway
Race 4: Kyle Larson wins at Tri-City Speedway