Saturday, July 13, 2024

Eryk Goczal “finally [has] a sequential gearbox” as EnergyLandia begins T3 testing

Eryk Goczał and his family-owned EnergyLandia Rally Team are preparing to make the jump from production SSVs to Light Prototypes for the 2024 Dakar Rally. Since Friday, they have been testing a pair of Taurus T3 Max cars from MCE-5 Development.

Goczał became the youngest Dakar Rally overall champion when he claimed the T4 class for production SSVs on début in January at the age of eighteen, winning four stages and holding off father Marek Goczał along with reigning and newly crowned World Rally-Raid T4 Champion Rokas Baciuška. While Marek finished runner-up in the 2022 W2RC and Eryk assumed the points lead with the Dakar win, the family elected to sit out the rest of the 2023 calendar for the younger Goczał to focus on university and compete in the Drift Masters European Championship. He is currently thirteenth in the DMEC driver standings while Poland sits third in the DMEC’s Nations Cup.

In March, Goczał announced he would move up to T3 for the 2024 Rally.

“This is the car I’ve been in France to help to build so I know it from the beginning,” said Goczał. “I believe that I could present the future of Dakar, the future of racing. I finally have a sequential gearbox. I’m more than happy to have two days of testing and to finally test this thing as my training car.”

The Taurus T3 Max has won the last two W2RC rounds with Mitch Guthrie at the Sonora Rally and Desafío Ruta 40, enabling him to take the points lead in a category dominated by Can-Am Mavericks. MCE-5, via Wevers Sport, fielded three Tauruses at the DR 40 for Guthrie, Nicolás Cavigliasso, and Gabriel Rodríguez. For the season-ending Rallye du Maroc in October, MCE-5 has also added BBR Motorsport to the roster.

Unlike their production counterparts in T4, Light Prototypes are side-by-side vehicles purpose-built for racing. Nasser Al-Attiyah, a five-time Dakar Rally winner on the verge of claiming his second straight W2RC, had high praise for T3 cars after testing a Taurus in July, calling it a “really nice machine” and arguing younger drivers should use the class to hone their rally raid skills before considering the top-level T1 division.

The 2024 Dakar Rally begins on 5 January. Besides Eryk and Marek, the former’s uncle Michal also races for EnergyLandia Rally Team.