431 kilometres of some of the hardest rally raid terrain in recent times was the story of stage 2 on the Dakar Rally today with the frustration of multiple punctures befalling all four Prodrive Hunters. Second place overall at the start of the day, Sebastien Loeb with Fabian Lurquin had three punctures necessitating them to take a spare wheel from team mate Orlando Terranova/Alex Haro to reach the finish.
The Frenchman drove the rockiest part of the stage as cautiously as he could but was still caught out by the sharp stones. His Argentine team mate Terranova had four punctures over the day so he had to use the repair kit as each car is only allowed to carry two spares. Loeb is now 31st overall and Terranova 20th before the stage north to Ha’il tomorrow.
Top 6 man yesterday Vaidotas Zala had three punctures early in the stage together with GCK Motorsport’s Guerlain Chicherit so opted to wait for the T5 support truck as that was the safest option to get out of the stage that was one of the toughest for many years.
With almost 4000 kilometres of stages remaining to run a lot can still happen over the next 10 days and the team will be pushing as hard as they can to recover the time lost today.
“It was really bad in there, no pleasure to drive. We had rocks for 150kms in the first part of the stage meaning we were at 10% of the speed I could go and even then I got some punctures. Not sidewall rips on the tyres but little holes in the tread so I don’t know what to do. We were as safe as we could never getting the car out of line with oversteer but maybe faster was better as some were going faster in the stones and yet they had less problems. It’s hard as the car is good with the work we have done but if we get punctures at 60 kph it’s very frustrating.”
“It was a difficult day because we were driving carefully and even driving like this we had four punctures which meant we had to repair some tyres on the side of the tracks. Even early on at kilometre 60 we had no more new tyres so decided to go very slowly. Later on we stopped to help Sebastién and gave him one tyre. It was an incredible stage, very stony.”
Gus Beteli, Team Principal
“A very tough day which just proves how difficult this event is especially after a very good day yesterday. Punctures on all four cars was not easy for any of the crews out there today but as always the Dakar is a long event; it’s a marathon not a sprint as we always say and we’ll do everything we can to bring the time back by keeping all drivers and co-drivers in good spirits.”
Overall General Ranking:
20. O.Terranova / A.Haro Bravo – Prodrive Hunter – + 1hr 10min 33sec
31. S.Loeb / F.Lurquin – Prodrive Hunter – + 1hr 21min 43sec
79. G.Chicherit / A.Winocq – Prodrive Hunter – + 3hr 34min 58sec
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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.