Three years in a row Rokas Baciuska got on the Dakar rally podium

Three years in a row Rokas Baciuska got on the Dakar rally podium

Prestigious Dakar rally in Saudi Arabia finished on Friday and the third time in a row Lithuanian racer Rokas Baciuska got on the podium. The Lithuanian racer achieved third place in 2022 and second in 2023 in the SSV category and this year he will climb the podium to receive a trophy for the third place in the harder “Challenger” category.


Rokas Baciuska with his co-driver Oriol Vidal Montjano (“Can-Am Factory Team”) kept the third position  after the last stage on Friday around Yanbu town. Here racers had to drive 326 kilometres, of which 175 kilometres was the racing track.


Rokas Baciuska reached the finish in 1 hour 59 minutes 33 seconds and got the fifth position. His main opponent and team friend Francisco Lopex from Chile finished in 2 hours 8 minutes 26 seconds and did not challenge the Lithuanian.


After the finish, smiling Rokas Baciuska said, ‘ I am calm and I want to go home. Everything is good, I know that I do not have to drive tomorrow, but a long flight marathon till home will be like the last Dakar rally stage’.


Racer confessed that in the last stage he drove carefully, but with speed.


Rokas Baciuska said, ‘I want to thank the team, sponsors and fans. It was the hardest Dakar rally of all and we made it. It is a relief. Last stage was not my type, at the beginning it was rocky, so we were careful. We managed not to get flat tires. But no matter what, the last stage was almost three times shorter, so it was much easier’.


Brazilian Marcelo Gastaldi won the last stage (1 hour 55 minutes 22 seconds). Saleh Alsaif from Saudi Arabia got the second position (+23 seconds). Spanish Christina Gutierrez finished third (+ 1 minute 12 seconds).


Precisely the winner of the Dakar rally in this category was determined at the last stage. American Mitchell Guthrie, who confidently was driving first, at the beginning of the stage had problems and wasted the 25 minute advantage he had from Christina Guttierez who was second. Later the American driver lost even more time and herewith the leader position.


When both drivers finished, it was clear that Christina Guttierez had overtaken Mitchell Guthrie in the general standings and became the second woman to win a Dakar rally trophy. Before her, only German racer Jutta Kleinschmidt achieved that. Mitchell Guthrie lost to her by 35 minutes 45 seconds and won second place. Rokas Baciuska fell behind the Spanish racer by 58 minutes and 47 seconds.


The Lithuanian racer was twice in the top three in this Dakar rally. He finished second in the seventh stage and in the ninth third. Rokas Baciuska revealed that he is already planning to participate in another race in three weeks, but about these news he will reveal more when he comes back to Lithuania.


In “Challenger” category classified 28 drivers from the 42 who started in the Dakar rally. This year's Dakar rally was made up from a prologue and 12 stages. Racers had to overcome 7891 kilometres in a 14 day period.