Americans continued their strong bikes performance at the 2023 Dakar Rally as Mason Klein won Stage 2 to take the overall lead.
The Agua Dulce, California, native overcame a 2-minute speeding penalty to finish the 589-kilometer stage in 5 hours, 23 minutes and 4 seconds, more than a minute ahead of Sebastian Buhler (5:24:13). American Skyler Howes finished in third (5:24:17).
U.S. riders occupy three of the top seven positions in bikes after two of 14 stages.
Klein, who is making only his second Dakar start, has a 1-minute, 41-second lead over two-time Dakar Rally winner Toby Price from Australia.
It was the first stage win for Klein, who finished ninth last year at the Dakar Rally as the top rookie in the bikes category.
Klein, 21, had entered Monday’s special 44 seconds behind after finishing second in the opening stage on his BAS world KTM Racing Team 450 Rally Raid.
Southern California native Ricky Brabec is ranked sixth, 4 minutes and 21 seconds behind Price and just 50 seconds ahead of Howes in seventh.
After winning the first stage, Brabec finished 15th in the second stage, 5 minutes and 35 seconds off Klein’s winning time.
🏁 Stage 2⃣ – Bikes 🏍
Provisional top 3:
🥇 Mason Klein
🥈 Sebastian Bühler
🥉 Skyler Howes
— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 2, 2023
In the cars category, defending Dakar Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah won the special, nipping Erik Van Loon by 14 seconds. Three-time Dakar winner Carlos Sainz finished third, maintaining his overall lead by two minutes, 12 seconds over Al-Attiyah.
In T3 light prototypes, American Mitch Guthrie beat overall leader Francisco Lopez Contardo to take Stage 2.
Seth Quintero, Guthrie’s Red Bull Off-Road Junior teammate, finished third, and Austin “A.J.” Jones was fifth in the stage. Contardo leads Quintero by just under 9 minutes overall.
NBC Sports’ daily 6:30 p.m. ET coverage on Peacock of the 2023 Dakar Rally continues tonight.
NEXT: Stage 3 of the 2023 Dakar Rally will cover 669 kilometers (including 447 km against the clock in the special) from AlUla to Ha’il, beginning with a 50-kilometer stretch that some have described as the rally’s most beautiful start. A succession of canyons will be critical to navigation.
Here are the stage winners, the top three in each category and American notables after Stage 2 of the 2023 Dakar Rally:
Stage 2 winner: Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) Toyota Gazoo Racing, 5:13:38.
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP), Team Audi Sport, 8:34:26; 2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Toyota Gazoo Racing, 8:36:38; 3. Mathieu Serradori (FRA), Century Racing Factory Team, 8:59:21.
Stage 2 winner: Mason Klein (USA), BAS world KTM, 5:23:04.
1. Mason Klein (USA), BAS world KTM, 9:38:28; 2. Toby Price (AUS), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 9:40:09; 3. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP), Monster Energy JB Team, 9:40:31. U.S. notables: 6. Ricky Brabec (USA), Monster Energy Honda, 9:42:49; 7. Skyler Howes, Husqvarna Factory Racing, 9:43:39; 32. Jacob Argubright, Duust Co Rally Team, 10:39:25; 46. Pablo Copetti, Del Amo Motorsports, 11:34:16; 80. Kyle McCoy, American Rally Originals, 5:36:16; 85. David Pearson, American Rally Originals, 5:40:52; 87. Petr Vlcek, Detyens Racing, 5:43:41; 99. Paul Neff, American Rally Originals, 5:53:22; 116. Lawrence Ace Nilson, Duust Rally Team, 6:21:37; 118. James Pearson, American Rally Originals, 6:22:32; 132. Morrison Hart, American Rally Originals, 7:40:42.
Stage 2 winner: Alexandre Giroud (FRA), Yamaha Racing, 6:21:06.
1. Alexandre Giroud (FRA), Yamaha Racing, 11:16:34; 2. Manuel Andujar (ARG), 7240 Team, 11:24:02; 3.Pablo Copetti (USA), Del Amo Motorsports, 11:34:16.
T3 light prototype
Stage 2 winner: Mitch Guthrie (USA), Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, 5:38:31.
1. Francisco Lopez Contardo (CHL), Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team, 9:37:36; 2. Seth Quintero (USA), Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, 9:46:19; 3. Guillaume De Mevius (BEL), Grally Team, 9:46:29. U.S. notables: 4. Mitch Guthrie, Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, 9:47:28; 5. Austin “A.J.” Jones, Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, 9:53:58.
Stage 1 winner: Marek Goczal (POL), Energylandia Rally Team, 5:45:31.
1. Marek Goczal (POL), Energylandia Rally Team, 10:07:18; 2. Rodrigo Luppi De Oliveira (BRA), South Racing Can-Am, 10:13:02; 3. Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli (ARG) South Racing Can-Am, 10:14:15.
Stage 2 winner: Ales Loprais (CZE), Instaforex Loprais Praga, 5:38:18
1. Ales Loprais (CZE), Instaforex Loprais Praga, 9:40:37; 2. Janus Van Kasteren (NLD), Boss Machinter Team De Rooy Iveco, 9:52:54; 3. Jaroslav Valtr (CZE), Tatra Bucgyra ZM Racing, 9:56:41.
STAGE 1: Ricky Brabec opens with victory; Carlos Sainz keeps Audi on top
PROLOGUE: Mattias Ekstrom leads Audi charge
CARRYING THE FLAG: U.S. drivers and riders in the 2023 Dakar Rally