12 November, 2023, Dubai: Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel have taken their Prodrive Hunter T1 to victory on the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas in Dubai in only their second event in the car that they first drove just three weeks ago. Their success on the Dubai International Baja is the perfect springboard for one of motorsport’s jewels, the Dakar Rally - the next event for Prodrive and the Qatari/French crew.
Following routes that totalled 339.5 kilometres, the UAE event was held over three days in amongst the dunes surrounding the city with extra navigational twists added by the organisers to keep the competition difficult for all the bikes and cars that took part.
For Nasser and Mathieu, it was the first time they drove the Hunter in competition in the dunes, giving them precious time to further understand the set-up of the car following their first outing on the Portuguese Baja Portalegre 500 two weeks ago where wet weather, mud and tighter tracks were a juxtaposition to the sandy deserts of Dubai.
On the first stage in Dubai (168 kilometres), Nasser seized the advantage with the best time in the overall standings to take his 12th win of the season (his second in its current format) and stamp his authority over the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas title which the duo had clinched in Portugal.
Nasser Al-Attiyah, Nasser Racing:
“Dubai Baja was an amazing rally for us with our new Prodrive Hunter. We really enjoyed being in the car as we worked hard to make a good result for the team too. We learnt a lot for the next step, the Dakar. Thank you to the team who got the car here and who have engineered it for us to take this win. It’s a great start to take this victory and get ready for Dakar and, yes, I think we can make it in Saudi Arabia to win the Dakar in January. We can’t wait."
Alan McGuiness, Prodrive Rally Raid Team Manager:
“This victory has been a fantastic lift for Nasser, Mathieu and Prodrive before the big push towards Dakar in January as the stages here are very representative of what we’ll see in Saudi Arabia."
In the car it’s been important to get Nasser comfortable behind the wheel with things such as seating position and suspension set-ups, as well as him getting to know us and the roles each person has in the team. Logistically it was a huge effort from everyone in the team to take the car from the UK to Morocco (Rally Raid), Portugal and Dubai (Bajas), but we pulled together and achieved it all before it’ll be back in Banbury [Prodrive HQ] this week to rebuild ready to leave for Saudi Arabia at the end of November.”
The 2024 Dakar Rally will see seven Prodrive Hunter T1 all-terrain rally cars lining up on the start line. The Nasser Racing challenger of Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel will head the charge alongside Bahrain Raid Xtreme’s Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin and Prodrive ‘Official Rally Raid Partners’ - X Rally Team (Brazil – two cars) and YunXiang (China – three cars). The fleet will be leaving Prodrive HQ in the UK on November 29th in order to board the ship that will take them to Saudi Arabia.
2023 Dubai International Baja Final Results:
1. Al-Attiyah/Baumel - Prodrive Hunter, 5h 22m 52.3secs
2. Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk - Toyota Hilux, +5m 13.9secs
3. Yacopini/Oliveras - Toyota Hilux, +25m 43.6secs
4. Ferreira/Palmeiro - Can-Am Maverick, +25m 55.8secs
5. Sousa/Ferreira - Can-Am Maverick, +41m 13.2secs
6. Chabot/Pillot - Toyota Hilux, +44m 52.3secs
7. De Sousa/Mota - Can-Am Maverick, +46m 42.6secs
8. Ventura/Brun - Yamaha YXZ, +1h 02m 49.9secs
9. Akeel/Perry - Can-Am Maverick, +1h 09m 58.0secs
10. Koloc/Greyling - Red-Lined Revo, +1h 35m 27.1secs
Photo credits: Marcin Kin, Marian Chytka and Andy Stephens
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NOTES TO EDITORS
Prodrive is one of the world’s largest and most successful motorsport and technology businesses. Over 500 staff are employed across its Banbury headquarters and composites manufacturing facility in Milton Keynes. While the company is perhaps best known for motorsport, today it is just one part of an organisation that in the last decade has diversified to become a technology business working in a range of sectors and providing a range of services. Within the Prodrive Group, there are four distinct but interconnected business areas: Motorsport, operating race and rally programmes for vehicle manufacturers and global brands; Advanced Technology, providing innovative technology for the automotive, aerospace, defence, and marine sectors; Composites, developing lightweight composite components for the automotive, aerospace and marine sectors; and Brand& developing bespoke clothing and accessories for leading brands.