top of page

DAKAR 2023


by Motorsport Media - 5 January 2023

What: Dakar Day 5 Report

Where: H'ail, Saudi Arabia

When: Thursday 5 January 2023

Community: International

SA team developing new CR6-T on the fly

Century Racing faced an uphill battle when teething problems raised their heads on both all-new Factory CR6-Ts as Dakar 2023 reached one-third distance. After dropping back Wednesday, Brian Baragwanath and Leonard Cremer however climbed back up to 12th overall to lead the FIA T1.2 4x2 class despite a scare late Thursday. Mathieu Serradori and Loic Minaudier also found problems on Wednesday, but handsomely fought back into the top twenty cars on Thursday.


“Wednesday was tough, and we were very happy to just bring it home,” Brian Baragwanath confessed. “We stopped to replace the engine drive belt that drives the power steering and water pumps, and alternator. “We lost about an hour, which dropped us to 26th for the day and we slipped down to 13th overall and a close second in the T1.2 4x2 class.


“Thursday went much better,  – we had a decent run from the back and were running 12th overall, when we fell into a big hole and the car flipped over. “We had to be towed out and lost a lot of time.” Brian and Len were in good company though. “We fell in the same hole as Sebastien Loeb did! “We told ourselves to take it easy to the end but there we go; the guys have a bit of work tonight – so sorry for the trouble! 


“We were 20th today and still made up a position to 12th overall and well within sight of the top ten and we are now leading the T1.2 4x2 class. “Most importantly, we are still in it, and everyone is having issues, so anything can happen. “ We are only a third of the way into this thing!” 


Wednesday proved even worse for Serradori who lost two hours with a similar issue to Baragwanath’s early on. Their problems were compounded when they had to bleed the cooling system. Pace was also slow from there as a damaged vacuum control pipe hampered power. Mathieu and Loic bounced back with a strong run 12th to jump six places up the overall order on Thursday, despite running in traffic most of the day. 


“Wednesday really was tough,” team boss Julien Hardy explained. “Both cars had issues and dropped back. “We’re collecting data for clues to what’s causing our belt issues as we are not yet sure why it’s happening. “We have a few ideas, and changed the thermostat on Brian's car, a tricky job because some screws are very hard to reach. “The suspensions worked very hard, so we did a full check on wishbones, uprights, and dampers too. 


“We were up until 4am Thursday, it was very cold, and we were exhausted. “Luckily there was no driving on Thursday, so perfect to sleep during the day! “Hopefully we have fixed it, but Thursday went pretty well. “Well, until Brian fell in that hole, that is! “But we will fix it and the guys will be out to fight another day tomorrow!”


There was action throughout the army of Corvette V8 powered model privateer Century C6Rs. All smiles as ever, Dutch twins Tim and Tom Coronel continue to swap daily driving and navigation duties to deliver a typically steady run topped by 19th on Wednesday and 21st on Thursday. They have moved up to a fine 16th overall and third in the T1.2 4x2 class.


Former World Superbike champion Carlos Checa and Marc Terradellas’ Astara CR6 ended 25th on Wednesday but struggled to 47th after also rolling their car on Thursday to sit 29th overall. 


French crews, Antoine Galland and Yannick Demay’s ORC CR6 impressed in 36th on Wednesday, and 37th on Thursday to move up to 41st overall. Yannick and Valérie Panagiotis’ troubled FJ Century CR6 was 56th on Wednesday but bounced back with a clean run to 33rd on Thursday. Provisionally, they’re 47th overall.


Early on Thursday, Dakar bike legends, Laia Sanz and Maurizio Gerini rolled their Astara CR6 heavily. The car was severely damaged, but the crew emerged unharmed and was somehow able to get it going again. They were heading to the finish in a virtual 53rd overall at the time of writing.


Spaniards Sergio Vallejo and Mario Gozalez Tome Astara Century CR6 ended 52nd on Wednesday and were still in the stage at the time of writing. They are running in a virtual 55th overall.


Dakar’s two longest stages follow on a 463 km run across the breadth of Saudi Arabia on Friday, followed by a 470 km stage on Saturday.

* Century Racing Factory Team is proudly sponsored by Fortinet, SRT, R53 Suspension, International Race Supplies, AP Racing, ALDO, CEMS Consult, Trollope Mining, ATS  Racing Supplies, OMP, Mecad - Solidworks SA, Sadev, Ekoil, Caltex Havoline SA and Houss.

Issued on behalf of Century Racing

For further information please contact

Click on thumbnails to Download images

bottom of page