The longest, toughest and no doubt most epic Dakar Rally ever is just a matter of days away and the HRC Rally Team is taking a four-strong squad to Saudi Arabia hunting for big results.
The world’s most famous rally kicks off in Saudi Arabia at the earlier date of December 31 and doesn’t reach its climax until January 15, meaning the ultimate test of speed and endurance just got even tougher.
The Saudi landscape offers a mix of sun, sea, and sand that pushes competitors to their very limits, but the HRC squad is all experienced racers with their eyes on glory.
Leading the charge for Honda is Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren, truly one of rally’s elite racers and a man more than capable of securing a medal.
He said; “I know this is a bike made to win.”
“I feel very excited and super happy for the race, having at the same time my feet firmly on the ground. This will be my 8th Dakar Rally, and I know it’s time to move forward in the rankings. I’ve finished 4th on two different occasions, and I’m willing to push more.”
“My motivation is high – especially after winning the last race in Andalucia – and I feel fully integrated in the team, so I can’t wait to start in Saudi Arabia!”
He’s joined by American Ricky Brabec, who took the gold medal in 2020 and knows that both he and the team has what it takes to repeat that success in ’23.
“We are quite confident, since we almost did it in 2019, and we did it again in 2021. We are focused on reaching number one again, the confidence is there, but preparation and staying healthy is key,” said Brabec.
“It looks like the 2023 route has something in common with 2020, it can be more or less similar, I mean it’s going along the coast – which is the area that helped me a lot in 2020 with rocks and rough terrain. I’m looking forward to riding in the same region again, and hopefully we can secure some good times and some good stages.”
“As a Dakar winner, maybe the pressure is not so high to me because I know I’ve been there before. But, as I always say, Rally is always a complicated game with so many variables that until the very last mile anything is possible, so we’ll stay focused and do our best.”
Nacho Cornejo has experience running at the front of the pack and took two stage victories in last year’s race, but is now determined to step up and convert stage wins to end results…
“I can remember the 2021 race where things were going really well and that was a point from where I could see winning the Dakar Rally was within reach. We are working hard to make it happen, to be able to lead and to win the race in the near future.”
“I believe that we can do it, that I can do it – that’s the goal we have as a team and individually. It’s not just a goal, but also a dream I believe we can make true. Monster Energy Honda Team is on the right path to win again the Dakar. We are all working hard – the riders, mechanics, managers, everybody in the team is doing their best efforts. It feels great to know this.”
And last but by no means least is Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla, who secured P2 last time out and plans to go one better now he is over injury.
Pablo said: “I had a crash in Rallye du Maroc that had some implications at the end of last season, since I was not able to race the Andalucia Rally, but now I feel fully recovered physically. I needed a lot of rest and physiotherapy, but now I feel confident in my shape to start racing another Dakar.”
“This confidence also comes with my large experience in this race, after 10 editions you learn a lot. Last year I was second overall, and now I am looking forward to fighting again for the title – I know I can do it and I know this is not just a dream!”
You can follow the team’s progress here on MonsterEnergy.com with regular updates and galleries, so stay locked in as the team takes on the world’s toughest race…
Get ‘em, boys.