Dakar

2023 Dakar Rally: Stages 7 and 8 tweaked, Bikes cancelled for former

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Credit: Bahrain Raid Xtreme

With the rain continuing to flood the Dakar Rally, the ASO has been forced to make changes to the stages as they take place. After Stage #6 on Thursday was shortened by 100 kilometres, the next two legs were also impacted as the bivouac in Dawadmi could not be built in time.

Stage #7, running between Dawadmi and Riyadh, was originally intended to use the same Special Stage layout that Stage #8 did. However, the ASO’s revisions mean the two will trade routes for good. The new seventh stage will be a 333-kilometre-long run from Riyadh to Dawadmi, effectively making it a marathon stage. At the end of the leg, a special assistance area will be established that competitors can access via a 94-km link route.

A 240-km liaison route will then take the Rally back to Dawadmi to prepare for Stage #8. This will go back to Riyadh but has been shortened from its original 473-km distance to 345 km.

As weather conditions continue to provide difficulties and the Rally takes its toll on riders, the ASO eventually decided to cancel the seventh stage for the FIM classes. The 2023 Rally has noticeably been more challenging than previous editions with multiple riders suffering injuries or experiencing other problems. With the Bikes and Quads not taking part, they will head directly to Dawadmi for Stage #8. The FIA categories and Dakar Classic will proceed with Stage #7 as scheduled.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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