Dakar : Tim and Tom Coronel at speed through the prologue

Tim and Tom Coronel started the 2023 Dakar Rally with the 29th fastest time. They completed the first 13 kilometres of the fifteen-day race across Saudi Arabia in 8 minutes and 52 seconds. Rally specialists Mattias Ekström and Sébastien Loeb stood head and shoulders above the rest of the field.

« Tim went all out, but we just couldn’t go faster at the moment, » said Tom Coronel at the finish of the loop around the Sea Camp at the shores of the Red Sea. « I wouldn’t have done it any other way. He was up to speed and made only one small mistake: shortly before the finish, in the last turn, we went wide. »

The course for the prologue, which determines the starting order for the first stage, was flat and twisty and allowed to be reconnoitred beforehand. Ideal conditions for WRC specialists and it showed. Ekström was 1 second faster than Loeb at the finish. Number 3, Stéphane Peterhansel, followed 10 seconds behind Loeb.

Such a short ride at speed requires immediate attention and that was there with the Coronel brothers. « Usually I’m pushing a bit more and Tim needs some time to get used to everything, but he was right on top of it », Tom noticed. « He is one with the car; usually that takes a while. Testing in Spain and Portugal has done him good. I already noticed that in the shakedown. »

Tim and Tom really have to get to work from tomorrow morning. The departure from the Sea Camp is from 9 a.m. local time, 7 a.m. Central European Time. An hour later, the first car takes off for a 368-kilometre special. “And then go to hell for fifteen days in a row. Lovely! »