The new year began with the shocking news that the W2RC motorbike world champion was out of the opening leg. Sam Sunderland will be unable to repeat his exploit from last year, when he laid the foundation for his title with a splendid brace in the first part of the 2022 season. He now faces an uphill battle to drag himself back into contention after drawing a blank in the Dakar. Season 2 is more open than ever. The Rally2 race also saw a major contender knocked out of the event, in this case, due to an injured elbow. Bradley Cox was leading the stage and had a real shot at succeeding Mason Klein on the throne, but he instead had to withdraw from the Dakar on day one. Paolo Lucci (BAS World KTM Racing) seized the opportunity to outfox Camille Chapelière (Team Casteu), with the overall standings placing the same two competitors in the same order. In the T3 race, the dominant force of the 2022 W2RC, "Chaleco" López, bared his teeth at his runner-up, Quintero, and his new teammate, Austin Jones. The same Red Bull Can-Am Factory and Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA 1-2-3 can be seen in the overall standings. In the T4 category, Eryk Goczał made W2RC history by winning a stage on his very first outing! In the T5 category, Martin Macík has been in a league of his own since the start of the Dakar. Among the car drivers, Carlos Sainz made the right choice to sign up for the 2023 W2RC and captured the stage win and the overall lead ahead of Loeb and Al Rajhi. With Chicherit, Al Attiyah, Ekström and Peterhansel within striking distance, it is all to play for.