Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin took their Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter to the top of the timing sheets today as the Dakar sped over 299kms of rough canyons, stony tracks and fast plateaus west towards Al Hofuf in Saudi Arabia. For the BRX team, it was their 11th Dakar stage win and the 13th for the Prodrive Hunter in this their fourth Dakar.
The stage itself saw the Hunter at the maximum permitted (by the organisers) speed of 170kph for much of the time. Waypoints were particularly difficult to find as they were placed in the middle of nowhere with no discernible point to aim for and success relied on the skill from Lurquin alongside Loeb but that is always part of the Rally Raid driving.
The win takes Loeb and Lurquin up from 9th to 6th overall, 23 minutes back of the current leader of the rally, keeping the focus on track before a shorter stage tomorrow. After just a short two hour service last night, it was a vindication of the hard work of the mechanics and engineers that the Hunter could fight back from the three punctures that befell the Frenchman yesterday.
The overnight bivouac is at Al Hofuf, an overnight stop last year but one that was very muddy, something everyone is happy to have as a distant memory as the weather today is fortunately much warmer at 29 degrees Celsius. Tomorrow’s fifth stage is a relatively short test at 118kms but it will be a complete contrast to today in that the average speed will drop massively as tomorrow the big dunes start following a huge road section to the stage start. Sleep and good nutrition tonight is key before what is arguably the biggest test of them all with the 48 hour Chrono stage set over two days on Thursday and Friday.
Sébastien Loeb - BRX
“It was a very good day for us - a clean stage. The car was good and strong out there and Fabian was brilliant on the navigation making no mistakes even when it was quite difficult in places. We started in the dust from 20th off the line but we overtook many cars as we upped the pace. You are happier to arrive back in the bivouac with a win than anything else so thank you to the team to make such a good car to give us this win - it’s why we are here!”
Gus Beteli, BRX Team Principal
“That was a great day for the team to take the victory with Seb and Fabian hitting the top of the results with a first place. As Seb said, it’s why we are here in Rally Raid and the biggest one of the all, the Dakar. What we must remember is that the car only had two hours of prep last night for this stage so we as a team are really pulling together so well on our fourth time here and that gives a brilliant vibe around us all.”
Stage 4 Result
Al Salamiya - Al Hofuf, 299kms
1st Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter
6th Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter +23m50s
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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.