It’s been a record equalling day for Sébastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin and Bahrain Raid Xtreme on the Dakar Rally today as the French/Belgian crew have taken their fifth consecutive stage victory of the rally, taking their tally to six this year and 22 for Loeb over his Dakar career. The stunning five stage wins on the bounce this week for Loeb/Lurquin equals the record set by Ari Vatanen from the original African based Paris-Dakar in 1989 proving the capability of the Prodrive Hunter in such hostile conditions.
The stage may have only been 185 kilometres in length but such was the pace from Loeb/Lurquin that they’ve leapt up a further place to now be second in the overall standings with two days to go, and all using sustainable fuel from Coryton that reduces CO2 emissions by 80% when the car is in the heat of competition on the stage.
Today was the second half of the ‘marathon stage’ where the cars attacked the first part yesterday before setting up camp last night some 400 kilometres away from the BRX service crew but after Seb and Fabian tended to the car themselves last night, the Prodrive Hunter was in good condition after the two days when it returned to Shaybah this afternoon.
Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq with their GCK Motorsport Hunter fought through the dunes well to be 4th on the stage today even if Guerlain was not feeling 100%. The pair have driven well over recent days following a huge landing on stage nine when many cars were caught out over a big jump as their grit and resilience has come to the fore on this physically gruelling event.
There was bad luck for Vaidotas Žala/Paulo Fiuza with their Teltonika Racing Hunter after a gearbox problem yesterday needed a replacement from the T5 truck that follows some hours behind the cars on the stage. Unfortunately the truck fell on to its side in amongst the huge dunes and could not reach the car at the bivouac last night so Vaidotas was forced to retire from the rally, a real shame after some quick stage times in 2023.
Tomorrow sees yet more big dunes in the Empty Quarter as we run back up the Saudi/UAE border towards Al-Hofuf that will include a 154 kilometre stage and a huge road section totalling 669 kilometres.
Bahrain Raid Xtreme
“We’ve had a really good feeling in the dunes over these past days that’s enabled us to push hard but today really was the perfect day with no mistakes at all. I tried to optimise everything so that was really good and it worked so hopefully we can push two more days like this. Since last week I’ve tried so hard everyday to make up time and now we are second overall so the plan has worked out as well as can be expected after our troubles last week.”
“I’m tired after these two stages that have made up the marathon stage but I am happy to be here. The car is still amazing after all these kilometres Alex and I have driven, but I’m feeling under the weather at about 80% for some part of the stage but then it goes away and I’m fine. I haven’t and I won’t give up so we will fight through to the end.”
Bahrain Raid Xtreme Team Principal
“Seb’s done it again! Five in a row since the rest day is an amazing achievement and a testament to the hard work of everyone in the BRX team here on Dakar and back at base has done. It’s been difficult to have the momentum going again after the set backs last week but we’re trying to get every point we can for the World Rally Raid Championship through the stages and then see where we are for the overall results come Sunday.”
Stage 12 Results (Empty Quarter to Shaybah, 185km)
1st. S. Loeb / F. Lurquin – Prodrive Hunter
4th. 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.