Amateur class 1-2, all four Red-Lined cars finish Dakar ‘23

South African rally raid race car manufacturer Red-Lined Motorsport enjoyed an exceptional outing at the 2023 Dakar Rally. Not only did all four of its gentlemen crews cross the finish line of the 8,549 km 15-day event which was said to be among the most gruelling ever, but its race cars went on to deliver a stunning 1-2 result in the T1.1 class.

After their first week challenges outside of racing conditions, German SA Rally Raid regular Daniel Schröder and South African notes man Ryan Bland’s PS Laser Red-Lined VK50 enjoyed another challenging week at the Dakar to eventually finish 28th overall and 1st in class. This is the fourth Dakar for their current VK50 which has now done more than 50,000km of racing which includes a few other international and South African Championship events.

Dubai based Brit Thomas Bell and SA navigator Gerhard Schutte’s TBR Red-Lined VK56 moved up to second in the T1.1 class through the second week as they went on to finish an impressive 33rd overall. Sand specialist Bell thrived in the dunes during the second week and went on to finish his 50th consecutive stage and 4th Dakar in the process.

36th overall and fourth in class, Dutch rookie crew Dave Klaassen and Tessa Rooth also went on to finish as runners up in the Dakar Rookie Challenge in their DaklaPack VK56 which added to what was already an impressive debut for the pairing. They enjoyed a solid and steady run over the two weeks, with their sole aim of finishing this gruelling event, as they consistently made their way up the finishing order.

Fellow Dutch rookie crew, Ronald van Loon and Erik Lemmen’s Oase Red-Lined VK50 similarly soldiered through the Dakar fortnight, often through the toughest conditions after a really challenging stage during the first week where they received some rather big penalties. They eventually went on to finish 40th overall after a good clean second week.

‘This was definitely one of the toughest Dakar events that I can recall’ Red-Lined Motorsport CEO Terence Marsh reflected. “Already known as the toughest motorsport event on the planet, everything was taken to another level this year with forever changing weather and terrain conditions.

“Never mind, the event was extended to 14 stages over the 12 days of previous editions. “We have never consumed as many parts and worked as hard as we did compared to prior years with the continuous battering the race cars had to take each day.”

While Red-Lined delivered a brilliant 1-2 class result at Dakar 2023, the team also extended its incredible overall Dakar stage finishing record to 99% from the 224 stages that they have started since their 2015 debut. Red-Lined cars have finished an impressive 83% for the 18 gruelling Dakar Rallies that they have started over the years.

Conditions were beyond tough throughout Dakar 2023 as crews suffered an extraordinary number of punctures and technical challenges in the first week. The going got even tougher when more rain fell in two days of the Dakar Rally than the region usually benefits over a full year. And it kept on coming, sporadically through the two Dakar weeks.

Much of the pack raced well into the dark every evening through Week 1, before facing among the most daunting dune driving challenges on planet earth through a tough and demanding second week in the Empty Quarter where the dunes are regarded as some of the most complicated dunes in the world. Freezing wet conditions meanwhile challenged service crews, which regularly faced up to grafting through the night to repair damaged cars.

The perfect traumatic conditions, in other words, for Red-Lined Motorsport to prove its worth on the worlds stage as the ultimate Dakar privateer businessman rally raid adventure platform.

*Red-Lined Motorsport Adventure salutes our Dakar 2023 partners BF Goodrich, Motul, Dragon Energy and Expand a Sign.