The Bahrain Raid Xtreme drivers of Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin have extend their World Rally Raid Championship lead from two to 16 points after a never give up drive through the sands of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge today. Covering the final 206 kilometres under a searingly hot sun, the Prodrive Hunter ran faultlessly to be the fastest title contender on the stage after 2,170kms of varied, dusty and challenging terrain.
Set amongst similar dunes to the most southerly part of last month’s Dakar Rally, the temperatures have been stifling over the past days with many crews discovering the event really does live up to its name as the hardest desert rally in the world. Only an errant stone that damaged a water pipe on the first day was the biggest set back for Loeb and Lurquin, a part that’s never been damaged in tens of thousands of kilometres of running over the past three years, but the resolve and grit of the BRX team came to the fore as they built back up to the extended Championship lead tonight.
Next up for Bahrain Raid Xtreme is the Sonora Rally in Mexico on April 23, a new addition for many of the competitors in the World Rally Raid Championship, but a very established event for many desert racers in the USA and followers of the famous BAJA 1000 that takes place a little further to the west of the country.
“We’re at the end of the rally and we finally finished into Abu Dhabi and we’ve taken some very good points for the championship and that’s the best we could expect when we got here in coming away with the lead intact. Today we’ve increased our lead form two to 16 points so I think we have to be happy after the problems we had early on in the event. Thank you to everybody in the team to turn this around; there was some very hard work and long hours put in for these valuable points both on the rally and back at Prodrive. Now the focus moves to the Sonora Rally in April.”
Gus Beteli, Team Principal
“A happy end after a very difficult start to this rally here in Abu Dhabi. The first day was not good for us with the smallest of problems stopping Seb’s car, but were it not for that we would be further ahead in the championship. What was great was seeing the drive and endurance of the team to dig deep deep, work hard and get the lead we have now. Of course we’re disappointed to not win the rally as that’s what we come here for, but we’re very proud and happy for the extra 14 points. Now it’s Mexico: in our heads that starts tonight with planning and logistics, but it’ll be something interesting to see for the first time.”
ABU DHABI DESERT CHALLENGE, STAGE 5
Liwa Oasis to Abu Dhabi. 206kms
S. Loeb / F. Lurquin – Prodrive Hunter – 2nd
WORLD RALLY RAID CHAMPIONSHIP, AFTER 2 OF 5 ROUNDS
Sébastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin
Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel
Yazeed Al-Rajhi/Timo Gottschalk
Martin Prokop/Victor Chytka
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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.