Saturday, March 2, 2024

2023 Rallye du Maroc: Marek Goczal wins in T3 debut, Seth Quintero wins title

The World Rally-Raid Championship‘s T3 points battle was one of the tightest for any category since its inception as the top three—all Americans racing for Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team—was separated by nine points entering the season-ending Rallye du Maroc. Mitch Guthrie held just a three-point edge over Austin Jones with Seth Quintero in tow.

Jones spoke with The Checkered Flag shortly after the trio swept the Stage #2 podium, calling the championship fight “really hard” as “every stage matters, every day matters, every kilometre matters.” Unfortunately for him, he was unable to complete every kilometre as he one of many victims in an attrition-filled Stage #4 with his car breaking down twenty kilometres in. Guthrie, who won Stage #2, was eliminated from contention the day prior for the same reason.

Entering the final stage, Guthrie needed a “little bit of a miracle” if he wanted any shot at the title, but it never came despite winning the leg. As the last man standing of the trio, Quintero went on to finish second overall to clinch his maiden title by just five points over Guthrie.

“This championship feels like a long time coming,” said Quintero. “We’ve been on the cusp of it in previous years. Even this year, we had so many ups and downs along the way and we came into this last round third overall. We knew we just had to go for it and that’s what we did.”

With his fellow Americans out of the picture, Quintero’s main rivals for the rest of the rally were the Goczał family of EnergyLandia Rally Team, who was making their début in T3. Eryk Goczał, the family’s scion and Dakar Rally T4 winner, did not take long to adjust to his new ride as he won the Prologue and Stage #1. However, his overall lead was dashed the next day when he broke both differentials and was left stranded in the desert, prompting him to start a fire to signal for help which led to a reprimand from the FIA. He retired for good after a Stage #3 engine failure.

While Eryk’s maiden T3 rally was cut short, his father Marek and uncle Michał kept the family effort going strong. Marek took the overall lead after a runner-up to Francisco Lopéz Contardo in Stage #3 followed by Michał winning Stage #4 and placing second behind Guthrie on the final day. A pair of mechanical issues on the second and third days relegated Michał to last among finishers, while Marek held off Quintero to win the overall.

The win was Marek’s first since the 2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in T4. He was the only T3 winner in 2023 not from the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team as Jones won in Dakar, Quintero claimed Abu Dhabi, and Guthrie went back-to-back at the Sonora Rally and Argentina.

“We still think it’s an early project, we need to do some more work,” Eryk told Cross-Country Rally News. “As it showed on myself, I didn’t finish two of the stages, which means we could not continue the rally, but it’s something we test before Dakar. That’s why we’ll come back here in a week to work on the cars, to improve it even more before Dakar. I am very happy, because we managed to claim the second vice-world champion title in T4 from only winning the Dakar, so I think that’s a huge surprise to me because I just checked the results, I didn’t even anticipate that it could have happened so it’s a great surprise.

“I think we can celebrate now when we come back to Poland, of course from the win of the rally, from the win of the two stages, I think the domination, and we are proud of the surname Goczał.”

The Goczałs were not the only T3 newcomers after graduating from T4. Rokas Baciuška, who won his second straight T4 championship prior to the Desafío Ruta 40, finished fourth in Stage #1 before dropping out with a broken rear suspension arm. His Red Bull Can-Am Factory Racing team-mate Lopéz retired a day after his stage win when his front differential broke, though he was already out of the overall with a burned-out fuel pump in Stage #1.

Reigning W2RC T5 champion Kees Koolen scored a top five in his first championship race in a Light Prototype. He finished a spot ahead of Dania Akeel, who was doing her maiden W2RC race in an MCE-5 Taurus T3 Max from Wevers Sport; Claude Fournier, another Taurus T3 convert, was fourteenth.

Lukas Lauda, the son of Formula One legend Niki Lauda, finished thirteenth in just his third career rally raid to beat those like FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas T3 champion João Dias.

T3 overall results

Finish Number Driver Co-Driver Team Time Margin
1 316 Marek Goczał Maciej Marton EnergyLandia Rally Team 16:22:12 Leader
2 302 Seth Quintero Dennis Zenz Red Bull Can-Am Factory Racing 16:37:19 + 15:07
3 303 Cristina Gutiérrez Pablo Moreno Huete Red Bull Can-Am Factory Racing 16:43:01 + 20:49
4 318 Ignacio Casale* Alvaro Leon X-raid Team 17:02:20 + 40:08
5 309 Kees Koolen Wouter Rosegaar GRallyTeam 17:15:32 + 53:20
6 312 Dania Akeel Taye Perry Wevers Sport 17:18:48 + 56:36
7 331 Paul Spierings* Jan Pieter van der Stelt Dakar Team Spierings RaceArt 17:54:46 + 1:32:34
8 327 Romain Locmane* Charlie Herbst Quad Bike Evasion 18:53:52 + 2:31:40
9 320 Lucas Del Rio* Bruno Jacomy South Racing Can-Am 18:55:39 + 2:33:27
10 321 Oscar Ral Verdu* Xavier Blanco Garcia Buggy Masters Team 18:59:16 + 2:37:04
11 306 David Zille Sebastian Cesana South Racing Can-Am 19:53:16 + 3:31:04
12 319 Hernán Garcés* Juan Pablo Latrach South Racing Can-Am 20:33:47 + 4:11:35
13 332 Lukas Lauda* Stefan Henken South Racing Can-Am 21:18:18 + 4:56:06
14 317 Claude Fournier Patrick Antoniolli BBR Motorsport 21:24:02 + 5:01:50
15 324 João Dias* João Miranda Santag Racing 21:26:11 + 5:03:59
16 330 Jorge Segura Vidiella* Sergi Brugue Carreras FN Speed Team 22:00:45 + 5:38:33
17 337 Freddy Fast* Alexander Toril South Racing Can-Am 35:36:12 + 19:14:00
18 335 William Buller* Jordão Daniel Franco Sport 35:37:11 + 19:14:59
19 322 Rui Carneiro* Manuel Porém RC Motorsport 36:03:42 + 19:41:30
20 301 Austin Jones Gustavo Gugelmin Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team 36:31:49 + 20:09:37
21 326 Luis Portela Morais* David Megre GRallyTeam 37:00:00 + 20:37:48
22 329 Gert-Jan Van Der Valk* Branco de Lange Arcane Racing 37:18:51 + 20:56:39
23 341 Andre Hort* Enio Bozzano Junior BBR Motorsport 40:35:20 + 24:13:08
24 334 Mário Franco* Rui Franco Franco Sport 42:35:22 + 26:13:10
25 323 Tiago Reis* Valter Cardoso Santag Racing 49:59:42 + 33:37:30
26 333 Lex Peters* Wouter de Graaff Arcane Racing 54:41:41 + 38:19:29
27 325 Pal Lonyai* Filippo Ippolito X-raid Team 58:23:03 + 42:00:52
28 338 André Van Ginkel* Tim Rietveld Arcane Racing 80:36:37 + 64:14:25
29 300 Mitch Guthrie Kellon Walch Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team 83:55:06 + 67:32:54
30 315 Michał Goczał Szymon Gospodarczyk EnergyLandia Rally Team 85:51:03 + 69:28:51
DNF 304 Francisco Lopéz Contardo Diego Ortega Gil Red Bull Can-Am Factory Racing DNF N/A
DNF 307 Erik Van Loon Henrie Verschuuren South Racing Can-Am DNF N/A
DNF 308 Rokas Baciuška Oriol Vidal Montijano Red Bull Can-Am Factory Racing DNF N/A
DNF 314 Eryk Goczał Oriol Mena EnergyLandia Rally Team DNF N/A
DNF 336 Roger Grouwels* Ronald Van Nederpelt Dakar Team Spierings RaceArt DNF N/A
DNF 339 Jean-Denis Piccini* Stéphane Denécheau JDV Sports DNF N/A
DNF 340 Marcelo Tiglia Gastaldi* Carlos Sachs BBR Motorsport DNF N/A
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

T3 stage winners

Stage Driver Time
Prologue Eryk Goczał 10:49.6
Stage #1 Eryk Goczał 3:33:45
Stage #2 Mitch Guthrie 3:10:14
Stage #3 Francisco Lopéz Contardo 3:20:18
Stage #4 Michał Goczał 3:48:21
Stage #5 Mitch Guthrie 1:58:38

Overall winners

Class Number Competitor Team Time
T1 201 Yazeed Al-Rajhi Toyota Gazoo Racing 14:49:09
T2 251 Ronald Basso* Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body 22:14:17
T3 315 Marek Goczał EnergyLandia Rally Team 16:22:12
T4 403 João Ferreira South Racing Can-Am 18:26:24
T5 506 Michiel Becx* Team de Rooy 21:32:34
RallyGP 8 Toby Price Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 15:56:43
Rally2 32 Bradley Cox BAS World KTM Racing Team 17:06:37
Rally3 164 Cheikh Yves Jacquemain Africa Rallye Team 23:42:39
Quad 186 Alexandre Giroud* Drag’on Rally Team 21:07:24
Open Auto 601 Jérôme Cambier* MD Rallye Sport 21:21:46
Open SSV 653 Tomas Mickus* BRO Racing 21:42:23
Road to Dakar Bike 71 Toby Hederics* BAS World KTM Racing Team 19:11:16
Road to Dakar SSV 420 William Grarre* Team Horizon Off-Road 21:50:39

W2RC T3 standings

Drivers’ standings

Rank Driver Points Margin
1 Seth Quintero 201 Leader
2 Mitch Guthrie 196 – 5
3 Austin Jones 190 – 11
4 Cristina Gutiérrez 138 – 63
5 Francisco Lopéz Contardo 104 – 97
6 João Ferreira 97 – 104
7 Mattias Ekström 77 – 124
8 David Zille 69 – 132
9 Claude Fournier 55 – 146
T-10 Jean-Luc Ceccaldi 41 – 160
T-10 Marek Goczał 41 – 160
12 Aliyyah Koloc 34 – 167
13 Dania Akeel 31 – 170
14 Hélder Rogrigues 22 – 179
15 Annett Quandt 20 – 181
16 Kees Koolen 18 – 183
17 Michał Goczał 17 – 184
18 Erik van Loon 13 – 188
Eryk Goczał 0 – 201
Francisco Alvarez 0 – 201

Co-drivers’ standings

Some co-drivers have worked with drivers in other categories. Those do not count for this championship nor are they mentioned below. Co-drivers also do not earn points if their driver is not competing for the W2RC.

Rank Co-Driver Driver Points Margin
1 Dennis Zenz Seth Quintero 201 Leader
2 Kellon Walch Mitch Guthrie 196 – 5
3 Gustavo Gugelmin Austin Jones 190 – 11
4 Pablo Moreno Huete Cristina Gutiérrez 138 – 63
5 Juan Pablo Latrach Francisco López Contardo, Hernán Garcés* 78 – 123
6 Emil Bergkvist Mattias Ekström 77 – 124
7 Filipe Palmeiro João Ferreira 74 – 127
8 Sebastian Cesana David Zille 69 – 132
9 Szymon Gospodarczyk # Claude Fournier, Michał Goczał 52 – 149
T-10 Maciej Marton Marek Goczał 41 – 160
T-10 Cédric Duplé Jean-Luc Ceccaldi 41 – 160
12 Stéphane Duple Aliyyah Koloc 34 – 167
13 Sébastien Delaunay Erik van Loon 29 – 172
14 Bruno Jacomy Hernán Garcés*, Lucas Del Rio* 26 – 175
15 Manuel Porem João Ferreira 23 – 178
16 Gonçalo Reis Hélder Rodrigues 22 – 179
17 Arnold Brucy Claude Fournier 20 – 181
18 Wouter Rosegaar Kees Koolen 18 – 183
19 Sergio Lafuente Dania Akeel, Diego Martinez 15 – 186
20 Annie Seel Annett Quandt 11 – 190
21 Lisette Bakker Annett Quandt 9 – 192
Diego Ortega Gil Francisco Lopéz Contardo 0 – 201
Oriol Mena Eryk Goczał 0 – 201
Xavier Panseri Fernando Álvarez Castellano 0 – 201
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