Benavides secures Michelin’s 38th Dakar victory
The 2023 Dakar was won by Argentina’s Kevin Benavides (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing/Michelin) after practically 45 hours and 8,000 kilometers of against-the-clock action in the Saudi Arabian desert. For the first time in the event’s history, the outcome was settled on the very last stage. In spite of the harsh conditions, Michelin earned the confidence of the majority of the riders on its way to monopolizing the podium with Benavides, fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Racing/Michelin rider Toby Price and Skyler Howes (Husqvarna Factory Racing/Michelin).
Despite trailing the provisional leader Price by 12 seconds with one stage remaining, the 2021 Dakar winner Benavides turned the tables on his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team-mate to win by 43 seconds, while Howes (+5m4s) completed the exceptional fortnight on the podium’s third step.
This year’s 14-stage rally threw up an exceptional mix of conditions, with cold weather and rain adding to the terrain’s inherent challenge and making the going particularly tricky. At the end of the grueling ordeal, however, Michelin’s range was given a thumbs-up by 93 percent of the riders for its dependability and performance.
“The 2023 Dakar was an event apart,” observes Piero Taramasso, the manager of Michelin Motorsport’s two-wheel activities. “The extreme conditions encountered during Week 1 included some very rough stages and sharp stones, but the combination of our tires and their Bib Mousse inserts took this in its stride. The MICHELIN Desert Race provided another demonstration of its versatility and consistency on hard, soft and sandy ground, and the MICHELIN Desert Baja performed strongly, too, thanks notably to its outstanding grip over the dunes. Congratulations to Kevin Benavides on his win and to all those riders who placed their confidence in our tires for this event which will go down in the annals.”