Litany of issues for Molly Taylor on Dakar Stage 1

Molly Taylor

Molly Taylor

Molly Taylor is almost 18 minutes off the pace in the SSV class after a litany of issues on Stage 1 of the 2023 Dakar Rally.

The Australian got stuck in traffic due to a roadbook drama then was left in two-wheel-drive when her Can-Am developed a driveshaft problem during the 367km journey down the Red Sea coast from the Sea Camp.

She and co-driver Andrew Short are 13th overall, with Eryk Goczal (Energylandia Can-Am) on top after winning the stage.

“It was definitely a proper Dakar stage for us,” said Taylor.

“Started off really great but we had an issue with our electronic road book.

“There’s basically a push-to-pass system [so] if you catch a car, it lets them know.

“It’s quite dusty so there’s not much room to overtake otherwise, and that wasn’t working so we got in a bit of traffic.

“It wasn’t the end of the world but then shortly after that, did a front driveshaft and a puncture so did probably about 250km with rear-wheel-drive for a while.

“It was a good challenge at the end. There were some really soft, big dunes, so the Can-Am did an amazing job not to get stuck.

“I for sure thought we would be stuck in the in the desert for longer but we managed to get through everywhere; not as fast as we would like but, at the end of the day, we didn’t lose too much time, all things considered.”

Other classes

In the Trucks, MM Technology’s Martin Macik has moved to 5:01s up after adding victory in Stage 1 to his Prologue bragging rights.

Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha Racing – SMX – Drag’on) has a slim lead in the Quads, while Francisco Lopez Contardo (Red Bull Can-Am) is on top in Lightweight Prototype.

After winning the Prologue, Cristina Gutierrez Herrero (Red Bull Can-Am) slipped to 20 minutes behind in the latter, having suffered two punctures and overheating on Stage 1.

“We started the day well and set a high pace,” recounted the Spaniard.

“Unfortunately, after 160km, we had two flats. From then on, we went into survival mode, not least because we were plagued by overheating issues that forced us to take it easy on the dunes.

“That’s the way it is… One stage down, 13 to go.”

Stage 2 takes place this evening (AEDT), with canyons and a chain of dunes on the cards as the field heads north to Al Ula.

CLICK HERE for Bikes report

CLICK HERE for Cars report

CLICK HERE for extended highlights of Stage 1

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