Stage 10 of the Dakar Rally saw another day of nail biting drama with the Bahrain Raid Xtreme crew of Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin taking more time out of the overall leader, Carlos Sainz. With 7 minutes 11 seconds taken from Sainz’s lead today, the gap between them in the overall standings is now down to just 13 minutes and 22 seconds with two remaining stages before the finish on Friday.
The 371 kilometre stage around AlUla held a great deal of flat out sections in between canyons with fast tracks and a few off piste sections that had many stones and it was to be these traps that just nicked the tyres to cause two punctures for the BRX pair's Hunter.
However, on today of all days there was to be a problem with the inbuilt jack that lifts the car off the ground for wheel changes, and ironically, both punctures were on that side. This meant Loeb had to drop one side of the car into a small hole to raise the opposite corner in order to then change that deflated tyre which took longer than normal thus losing around 15 minutes.
Once back in the car Loeb and Lurquin got the Hunter to fly over the remaining kilometres that were in places familiar to them as the valleys and tracks were used for the prologue and first stage of the rally 11 days ago.
Tomorrow’s 480km long stage sees the cars return to the area that gave many cars mechanical and tyre problems 12 months ago, so the Bahrain Raid Xtreme crew will cover everything tonight, checking the car over to be ready for arguably the most important stage the team has ever had.
Sébastien Loeb - BRX
“That was a hard day for us out there but good that we have reduced the gap to the leader with two days to go so now the gap is now 13m 22secs. We could have taken more time out of Carlos but we had some troubles with two punctures and then issues with the jack so we were not able to change the tyres quickly. I had to drop the opposite side of the car into a hole to raise the damaged tyre in the air and that took some time. Now we are back in service we are positive as the time gap has been slashed to him with two days to go. We will continue as we have done every day this week by pushing hard.”
Gus Beteli, BRX Team Principal
“This is a Dakar that keeps on giving with so many ups and downs over the latest stages but even with some issues today we managed to get some time back on Carlos which is our sole target. We’re a step closer now with tomorrow being a very long and tough stage that will have many rocks and stones so we aim to play smart and finish ahead. We have all our confidence with Seb’s driving and Fabian’s navigation so we now all focus on tomorrow.”
Stage 10 Result
AlUla - AlUla, 371 kms stage
17th Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter +17m37s
2nd Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter +13m22s
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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 to design and manufacture cars to compete in the Dakar Rally and World Rally Raid Championship. BRX achieved the best finishing position, 5th with Nani Roma on debut in 2021, and 2nd with Sebastien Loeb in both 2022 and 2023. Its Hunter cars run Prodrive EcoPower, a sustainable fuel made from agricultural waste. 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.