History has been made today with Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin taking a record sixth Dakar stage victory in a row with their Prodrive Hunter, further confirming their second place overall this year. The pair have also won every stage in the vast expanse of the Empty Quarter, the biggest area of dunes in Saudi Arabia, today’s stage in particular being made up of 154 kilometres of pure dunes.
Their win by 5 mins 28 secs today also means that the pair have now seven stage victories on this year’s rally to make the sustainably fuelled Prodrive Hunter the fastest car on eight of the thirteen stages so far following the success of Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq on stage three with their GCK Motorsport Hunter.
The previous record of consecutive wins was held by other rally legends Ari Vatanen/Bruno Bergland who took five stages in a row during the 1989 Paris-Dakar. In today’s World Rally Raid Championship there are points awarded for each stage win so the seven victories on this Dakar will be vitally important for Loeb/Lurquin and the BRX team over the five rally 2023 season.
Today’s test may not have been long in distance compared to previous days but it was a route that gave no rest for the competitors who surfed the huge dunes that were tricky to drive as they gave the crews no indication of what might be on the other side.
The second Hunter of Chicherit/Winocq also cleared the stage well but not quite at the pace of Loeb/Lurquin and crossed the finish line in 8th place to yet again be inside the Top 10 on only their third rally with the car.
Tomorrow sees the final run into the finish line of the world’s toughest motorsport event with just 136 kilometres towards Dammam on the Bahraini/Saudi border. Everyone at Bahrain Raid Xtreme is looking forward to seeing the podium for Loeb/Lurquin after the huge fight back since the third day of the rally.
“We’ve done it again! The goal is to keep the second place until the end and to score important points for the championship but now it’s a new record with six victories in a row on the Dakar so I’m very happy. That’s seven for us this year. Everything has gone so well for over a week now with very good stages enabling us to get back to second place but now we need to finish. The dunes today were softer than previous days plus it was 150 kilometres of dunes for the whole route so there was no chance to rest. It was hot in the car, no fast sections so it was much harder today.”
Gus Beteli, Team Principal
“Another impressive performance by Seb, Fabian, the whole Bahrain Raid Xtreme team and at the Prodrive base in the UK to clinch six stages in a row and beat a record that’s been there since 1989. We’re all very proud of it. There’s one more stage to do tomorrow and at the end of that we’ll see if our aim to lead the World Rally Raid Championship comes forth but in the meantime, it’s a happy day at BRX.”
Stage 13. Shaybah to Al-Hofuf. 154kms.
1st. S. Loeb / F. Lurquin – Prodrive Hunter
8th. 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.