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    Dakar Rally: 18-year-old Eryk Goczał won the first stage

    Great news from Dakar Rally in Sea Camp at the Red Sea. On Sunday, 18-year-old Eryk Goczał won the first stage of the Dakar Rally in the light SSV (UTV) class and leads the general classification. Michał Goczał advanced to the third place.

    Rokas Baciuska had the best time, but a few hours after the end of the competition, the judges announced that the Lithuanian received a 15-minute penalty.

    Thanks to this, the winner of the rally was Eryk Goczał.

    “It was probably a stage invented especially for me. It was literally everything I dreamed of so much. Beautiful dunes, sand, wonderful landscapes, a really great episode. There were also holes, stones and very technical places. I really like this type of terrain. Yesterday we had some technical problems, but everything was fixed. The car performed great today. I had a great time today, I hope there will be a few more stages like today’s.”

    said Eryk Goczał.

    His uncle, Michał Goczał took 3rd place.

    Eryk’s father, Marek Goczał was 7th.

    On Monday, the participants of the Dakar will face the second stage, from Sea Camp to Alula (589.07 km, including 430 km of a special stage.)

    “Us three competing in the Dakar is like a dream come true”

    The Goczal name has become familiar on the Dakar in recent years, and a third member of the family is preparing to join the adventure in 2023. Having watched his father Marek and uncle Michal battle for the podium in the SSVs in the last two editions, Eryk Goczal is finally old enough to compete himself in a South Racing-prepared BRP Maverick. The 18-year-old made his rally debut at Baja Europe 2019, driving a zero car for the organisation. He continued in that role throughout the Polish Cross-Country Championship in 2020, before making his debut at the Polish Drift Championship in 2021, as the youngest driver in history. After securing third place in the Pro2 category, he stepped up to the highest class in 2022 and saw off all comers to be crowned Polish Drift Champion, showing that he really means business. He then made his competitive rally-raid debut at the Dubai International Baja -only a month or so before Dakar 2023- and put in a superb showing, finishing as the top T4 ahead of his uncle and father, and as the quickest vehicle outright in the FIA standings. Eryk clearly has a great deal of potential, and has linked up with former biker Oriol Mena for his first tilt at the Dakar. As well as finishing as high as seventh on two wheels in 2018, the Spaniard has worked as a co-driver this year with two World Rally-Raid Champions: Chaleco Lopez and Rokas Baciuska. He helped the Lithuanian snatch a podium place ahead of the Goczal brothers at last year's Dakar, and will now be looking to guide teen sensation Eryk to a memorable debut in the SSVs.

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