The first big stage of Dakar 2024 was exactly as the organisers predicted it would be; tough, long and with the strong possibility to spread the field out over 414kms of volcanic rock fields along the way from AlUla towards Al Henakiyah near the holy city of Medina. The Bahrain Raid Xtreme crew of Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin set off eighth from the start line, immediately intent on being cautious heeding the words from Dakar Director David Castera.
The predictions were correct with some of the hardest terrain seen in many years for the Ultimate class cars seeing them pushed to the absolute limit and beyond. Seb and Fabian had a puncture at 70kms and then drove slowly to take care of the car over a brutal landscape that made 150kms of rocks from km 220 to km 380, for the majority of the time staying in third gear to check the speed.
Following a bent steering arm that needed to be replaced, Loeb and Lurquin set the 18th best time on the stage, something they were still happy with considering the time that can be lost on stages such as this.
The BRX Hunter arrived into the bivouac this evening for the Prodrive crew to refresh the car ready for tomorrow’s even longer stage of 470kms as the rally forges forward right into the heart of Saudi Arabia and a familiar overnight stop of Al Duwadimi. The temperatures are rising with the ambient being 29 celsius today but inland it looks to further test all the competitors on the this mammoth event.
Sébastien Loeb - BRX
“That was not an easy stage but they did tell us that before the start. We had a puncture after 70kms but after that we knew the rest of the stage would be very hard for the tyres and the car with big stones everywhere, so we took it a little bit easily. Then I broke the steering arm so we had to change that in the stage and that’s not so quick to swap over so I think we lost 10 or 12 minutes. It was a long day that was not so interesting from the driving side but more a question of surviving but in the end we did that.”
Gus Beteli, BRX Team Principal
“A very difficult day as expected with a lot of rocks over a long stage so Seb and Fabian did what we planned which was to bring the car back in one piece. It’s still a very long rally so we’re confident we’ll get any lost time back.”
Stage 1 Result
AlUla - Al Henakiyah, 414kms
18th Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme 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 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.