Surfing the huge dunes of Saudi Arabia, Sébastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin have taken their fifth stage victory on this year’s Dakar with their Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter to make it six stage wins from eleven so far. The endless sand of the Empty Quarter has proven good so far for Loeb as he continues his fight back up the order from 54th overall to now within less than ten minutes of second place.
For the flying Frenchman, it is the first time since 2009 that a driver has taken four Dakar stage victories on the bounce but with three stages to go in this the longest Dakar for over a decade, anything can still happen. Indeed, tomorrow’s test starts tonight as all the rally cars are 430km away from the technicians and engineers meaning any service on the cars will be done by the drivers and co-drivers and only with spare parts carried on the car or in the T5 BRX truck that is also competing in the rally.
Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq speared their car through the stage to be right on the tail of Loeb in second place, only 2m 16secs back over the 275km test, testament once more to the speed and capability of the Hunter on rally raids having only entered it’s first rally 24 months ago.
Making their debut in the Hunter, Vaidotas Žala/Paulo Fiuza also confirmed their speed running fifth overall for 187km before suffering a transmission problem and losing a lot of time having to wait for the BRX support truck.
Tomorrow the crews will complete a further 375km, 185 of which is on the stage and loops back to Shaybah very close to the UAE border, the reward being back with the BRX support team and a little closer to the finish on Sunday in Dammam.
Bahrain Raid Xtreme Team Principal
“Seb drove brilliantly today to give us here at Bahrain Raid Xtreme another stage victory to now make six from eleven stages so far, proof of the hard work that everyone here on the rally and those back at Prodrive International have done since the start of this project. We’re now within striking distance of second overall too.
With Guerlain making second place it was another good day for BRX although frustrating for Vaidotas after a strong start to the stage. However there are sure to be some further twists and turns over the remaining three days before Sunday.”
Stage 11 Results (Shaybah to Empty Quarter, 275km)
1st. S. Loeb / F. Lurquin – Prodrive Hunter
2nd. G. Chicherit / A. Winocq – Prodrive Hunter
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NOTES TO EDITORS
About Bahrain Raid Xtreme
A joint partnership between the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company (Mumtalakat), the sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Prodrive the British motorsport and engineering group formed the joint venture Prodrive International in 2020. Building on Prodrive’s extensive experience in developing championship winning race and rally cars, its aim is design and manufacture cars to compete in the Dakar Rally and World Rally Raid Championship. BRX achieved the best finishing position, 5 with Nani Roma on debut in 2021, and 2 with Sebastien Loeb in 2021. Its Hunter cars run Prodrive EcoPower, a sustainable fuel made from agricultural waste by BRX team partner Coryton. The fuel reduces CO2 emissions by 80% compared to standard fuel.
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.
About Guerlain Chicherit
Born on 20 May 1978, Guerlain Chicherit made a name for himself in the 2000s as four-time freeride ski world champion. In 2005 he finished 49th in his first Dakar rally. The following year he climbed 40 places, and was fifth in 2020, his best result so far, including a stage win. In 2009 he won the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, taking the Desert Challenge in Abu Dhabi and the Transibérico along the way. After a six-year hiatus, he came back with his own outfit – GCK Motorsport – and a plan to win the Dakar with a zero-emission hydrogen-powered vehicle by 2027.
About GCK Motorsport
Founded in 2017 by Guerlain Chicherit, GCK Motorsport showed excellent potential from the start with several podium places in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. In 2020 the team joined Green Corp Konnection (GCK), a group of industrial companies promoting innovative technologies for greener mobility. The racing arm of the group is a test bed for the ground-breaking solutions, serving to prove their reliability and high-performance in gruelling real-life conditions. One of the group’s targets is to be the first to win the Dakar with a hydrogen-powered car.