The 2023 edition of the Dakar is all set to begin from January 1, 2023, in Saudi Arabia and Hero MotoSports Team Rally is ready to begin its seventh consecutive Dakar campaign, with its team of Ross Branch, Joaquim Rodrigues (J-Rod), Sebastian Buhler and Franco Caimi, in the Rally GP class, riding Hero 450 Rally motorcycles.

After a quick podium ceremony, Team Hero MotoSports riders competed in the short 13 km special Prologue stage on the seafront, which gives top 10 finishers an advantage of choosing their starting positions for the first stage that begins from the Jeddah Sea Camp, the same place that hosted the Prologue stage. Ross Branch finished 3rd in qualifying, Joaquim Rodrigues and Sebastian Buhler finished qualifying in 6th and 8th position respectively. Franco Caimi rounded up the top 20-list, finishing the Prologue in 20th position.

Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, said, “We are back at the Dakar after a full year of preparations, and I’m happy that our riders have secured solid results to get good starting positions in the first stage, the first day of 2023.  The race is by two days in this edition – eight full stages till rest day, and another 6 till the finish. Some especially hard stages await us during the last few days, in the Empty Quarter, which hosts an endless sea of dunes. All our riders are in top shape and we hope the year’s preparations will pay off well. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next 14 days.”

The first official stage of the Dakar Rally 2023 will take the riders around a 603 km loop around the Sea Camp with 367 km forming the special section. The special stages (SS) consist of rocky and gravel sections along with patches of desert as well. A rest day after the 8th stage is the only respite that competitors will have on this route which traverses over 8,600 km, of which 4,700+ km consist of timed sections.

The 2023 Dakar Rally comes to a close on January 15, 2023. This is the fourth edition of Dakar Rally being organised in Saudi Arabia, moving from South America in 2020. The toughest rally raid event in the world is expected to be even tougher, with 14 stages, which is two more than before.