2023 Dakar Rally: Alexandre Giroud goes back-to-back in Quads

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Credit: Alexandre Giroud

In 2022, Alexandre Giroud and Francisco Moreno Flores finished first and second in the Dakar Rally‘s Quad category. Fast forward to 2023 and even a tougher course did not change the top two.

The reigning World Rally-Raid Champion, Giroud defeated his fellow Drag’on Rally rider Moreno by forty-three minutes, making it a much closer result than last year when he won by over two hours. Giroud is the first back-to-back Quad winner since Alejandro Patronelli won in 2011 and 2012. The Frenchman kept a clean sheet better than his country in the FIFA World Cup Final as he never surrendered the overall lead across all fourteen stages. Ironically, the football analogy means the Dakar Quad 1–2 was an inverse of said match as Moreno is Argentinian.

It was not a “perfect” sweep as he did not win every stage, but winning the first four legs built up a massive advantage over Moreno. When Moreno broke the streak by taking Stage #5, he was still forty minutes back.

2021 Rally winner Manuel Andújar joined the fight when he bookended the cancelled Stage #7 with two wins, the latter of which saw an uncharacteristically difficult day for Moreno that caused Giroud to pull ahead by over an hour. However, Andújar fell out due to mechanical problems during the Empty Quarter Marathon.

Laisvydas Kancius and Marcelo Medeiros won every leg in the second half, with the former notching two and the latter enjoyed four in a row. Kancius could have had a third victory in Stage #8 but it evapourated when his Quad broke down. However, an early crash for Medeiros and retirement for Kancius respectively relegated them to ninth and seventh in the overall.

After what he called an “odyssey” of a Rally and “the toughest I have ever raced,” Pablo Copetti joined Giroud and Flores on the podium, marking his second top-three finish after placing third in 2021. He crashed during Stage #2 and partially lost vision in one eye as the impact hit his head, but he completed the leg and was able to see again normally by the next day. As Giroud and Moreno are not competing for the W2RC, Copetti is the Quad points leader exiting Dakar.

Carlos Verza finished eighth as the only Quad rider competing in Malle Moto, an otherwise Rally2-only category where riders may not have assistance crews. He placed fourteenth among the fifteen Malle Moto finishers.

Quad overall finishers

1151Alexandre Giroud*Drag’on Rally Team56:44:30Leader
2154Francisco Moreno Flores*Drag’on Rally Team57:27:41+ 43:11
3163Pablo CopettiDel Amo Motorsports58:37:25+ 1:52:55
4153Juraj VargaVarga Motorsport59:35:52+ 2:52:22
5166Giovanni Enrico*Enrico Racing Team61:41:41+ 4:57:11
6164Toni Vingut*Visit Sant Antoni – Ibiza65:22:32+ 8:38:02
7162Laisvydas KanciusStory Racing SRO76:00:23+ 19:15:53
8158Carlos Alejandro VerzaVerza Rally Team81:35:00+ 24:50:30
9159Marcelo Medeiros*Taguatur Racing Team86:47:55+ 30:03:25
10169Alejandro Fantoni*Drag’on Rally Team94:47:16+ 38:02:46
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

Quad stage winners

Prologue151Alexandre Giroud*Drag’on Rally Team44:10
Stage #1151Alexandre Giroud*Drag’on Rally Team4:55:28
Stage #2151Alexandre Giroud*Drag’on Rally Team6:21:06
Stage #3151Alexandre Giroud*Drag’on Rally Team5:40:44
Stage #4151Alexandre Giroud*Drag’on Rally Team5:52:17
Stage #5154Francisco Moreno Flores*Drag’on Rally Team5:49:21
Stage #6152Manuel Andújar7240 Team4:08:25
Stage #7N/ACancelled due to rainN/AN/A
Stage #8152Manuel Andújar7240 Team4:56:05
Stage #9162Laisvydas KanciusStory Racing SRO4:20:14
Stage #10159Marcelo Medeiros*Taguatur Racing Team2:04:28
Stage #11159Marcelo Medeiros*Taguatur Racing Team3:50:47
Stage #12159Marcelo Medeiros*Taguatur Racing Team2:37:04
Stage #13159Marcelo Medeiros*Taguatur Racing Team2:55:48
Stage #14162Laisvydas KanciusStory Racing SRO1:36:16

Overall winners

T1200Nasser Al-AttiyahToyota Gazoo Racing45:03:15
T2250Ronald Basso*Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body107:39:42
T3303Austin JonesRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team51:55:53
T4428Eryk GoczałEnergyLandia Rally Team53:10:14
T5502Janus van KasterenBoss Machinery Team de Rooy IVECO54:03:33
RallyGP47Kevin BenavidesRed Bull KTM Factory Racing44:27:20
Rally217Romain DumontierTeam Dumontier Racing47:03:58
Malle Moto40Charan Moore*HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing52:24:42
Quad151Alexandre Giroud*Drag’on Rally Team56:44:30
Classic778Juan Morera*Toyota Classic428 points
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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