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    18-year-old Pole wins Dakar Rally in SSV class

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    The youngest driver in the entire event, 18-year-old Eryk Goczal with co-driver Oriol Mena from the Energylandia Rally Team won the rally in the light SSV class.

    Third place overall went to the team of Marek Goczal, who is Eryk’s father, and fifth was Michal Goczal. All of them are Energylandia Rally Team drivers.

    Among the car drivers, Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota) triumphed, while the best motorcyclist was Argentinian Kevin Benavides (KTM).

    Erik Goczal’s final strike

    Sunday’s final stage ran from Al Hofuf to Dammam and covered 417km, but the special stage was relatively short – only 135km. On Saturday, 18-year-old Erik Goczal attacked the leader’s position and before the final stage, he was only 3.24 behind Lithuanian Rokas Baciuski. However, he paid for his courageous ride with a hand injury and it seemed that on Sunday he would not be able to fight for the final victory. However, Baciuska struggled, losing more than 25 minutes to Michal Goczal, the fastest on the stage, and dropped to second place.

    Riding with Spanish co-driver Oriol Mena, Erik Goczal was a Dakar revelation. He only obtained his driving licence in November and less than two months later became the youngest-ever driver to compete in the world’s toughest off-road rally. He won a total of four stages.

    Eryk Goczal became the third Polish Dakar triumpher – after quad driver Rafal Sonik and Dariusz Rodewald, who entered the winner’s list for the third time on Sunday as a Dutch truck mechanic.

    Przygonski in the second ten

    In the ‘royal’ car class, the second consecutive victory went to Al-Attiyah, who already had such a big lead halfway through the rally that he was able to drive calmly and control the situation. Second place went to nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb (Prodrive). The Frenchman won half of the stages, including six in a row, thus improving the record held by the famous Finn Ari Vatanen in 1989. However, problems at the start of the rally deprived him of the chance for his first career Dakar victory.

    In the final stage, Jakub Przygoński (Mini) took fourth place, the highest in this year’s Dakar. A loss of many hours due to technical problems on the second stage meant that the Orlen Team driver dreaming of a podium finish finished the rally in second place, with a time almost seven and a half hours worse than Al-Attiyah.

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