Guerlain Chicherit and GCK Motorsport’s final score in the 2023 Dakar includes two leg victories, 11 special stages in the top 5, 49 points clinched in the World Rally-Raid Championship, and a noteworthy 10th place finish. But beyond these figures, the driver and his team made a big impact and gathered precious information for the continuation of their multiple programmes.
Last September when Guerlain Chicherit announced that he had signed up with Prodrive for two outings in the Dakar (2023 and 2024), as well as a full season in the 2023 W2RC World Championship in a Hunter, he stated that his ambition was to fight at the front. He’s won his bet! First time out he clinched victory in the Moroccan Rally last October and the GCK Motorsport driver has put on a scintillating display every day in the 2023 Dakar scoring outright two leg victories (3, 14) and finishing 11 times in the points. Today, thanks to his consistency at the sharp end of the field, he has installed himself in third place in the W2RC classification with 49 points behind the winner of the 2023 Dakar, Nasser Al-Attiyah (85 points), and runner-up Sébastien Loeb (87 points). There are still four more events to go in this championship in which Chicherit emerged victorious in 2009 when it was called the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.
But Chicherit and his co-driver, Alex Winocq, will have other memories of the 2023 Dakar including the five punctures in the second stage and the power steering failure in the fourth. These two incidents cost them 5h30 in relation to the overall winner. This evening they will have some regrets if this time loss is compared with the 5h22 separating the French crew from the victorious duo, Al-Attiyah-Baumel. There’s no doubt that a podium finish was well within their grasp, but with “ifs and ands…”
By finishing the 2023 Dakar with a vehicle powered by sustainable biofuel, GCK Motorsport has ticked the first box in the GCK Group’s strategic plan. While the rally was taking place in Saudi Arabia, in France the group was pushing ahead with the development of its hydrogen vehicle that’s capable of coping with all the constraints - performance, endurance, robustness - imposed by the most difficult races in the world. Watch this space!
Guerlain Chicherit : "Congratulations to Nasser and Mathieu for their victory and to Sébastien and Fabian for their fantastic remontada. Alex and I are finishing with the satisfaction of being able to remobilise after a frustrating second leg by the end of which we’d already lost any chance of winning the rally. The car suffered, and so did I. Cars have become so efficient that they take us to the limits of our bodies. This even went as far as a brief loss of consciousness on landing a jump. Despite the pain, we managed to score several top five finishes in the second half of the rally, allowing us to made a solid start in the context of the championship. We know what we still have to do to improve the Prodrive Hunter and we’ve gathered a lot of precious data to develop our e-Blast H2."