Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin driving the Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter have taken their first FIA World Rally Raid Championship victory today after a stunning display over the Spanish stages. In a thrillingly tight battle all week with arch rival Nasser Al-Attiyah, the title was still open until the last few kilometres but Loeb kept cool to win the event but ultimately finish a close second overall in the championship’s first season following Dakar, Abu Dhabi, Morocco and Andalucia.
For the Prodrive Hunter it’s the second World Rally Raid event victory on the bounce following Guerlain Chicherit’s win in Morocco only two weeks ago, further establishing the car’s credentials over such a contrasting terrain from Northern Africa. Likewise, with today’s success in Andalucia, Frenchman Loeb now adds a Rally Raid event to his staggering array of wins in the WRC, Extreme E (three in 2022 alone), World Rallycross, World Touring Car, FIA GT Series, X Games and a podium at the Le Mans 24 hours.
Fellow Hunter driver Guerlain Chicherit came home in an impressive third on the stage today to confirm his fourth position in the overall standings at the line in only his third time in the car following a test, his Rallye du Maroc victory and then Andalucia. More impressive is that Chicherit arrived as late as possible to Spain as he was waiting in France by his pregnant wife’s side for as long as possible only for the Frenchman to get a phone call at the end of the rally to rush home! In going home to care for his wife and new born he was unable to make the final time control and so was not included in the official results.
Once more, Prodrive have created a world class winning car that’s been designed, built and run from their workshops in Banbury, UK, taking all on at world level while running sustainable fuel from Coryton giving 80% less CO2 emissions when on the stages against the clock.
The next event is the world’s biggest, the Dakar Rally that starts on December 31 but first the team will return to base and prepare four cars for Loeb, Orly Terranova, Chicherit and welcome newcomer to the team, Vaidotas Zala.
Bahrain Raid Xtreme
Winner of the Andalucia Rally 2022
“This is fantastic to bring Bahrain Raid Xtreme their first World Rally Raid Championship victory as we’ve worked hard since 2020 to be able to get this win. It’s really great for everyone. In 2022 the fight with Nasser Al-Attiyah was always very tough but I pushed hard all the way through this stage and yet we were only six seconds apart so that was a great battle over a rally like this with such tricky stages. Over the season we’ve had good performance from the Prodrive Hunter - we’re there now with the speed and were it not for some bad luck on the last rally we’d be even closer to the title. Taking the fight to the last day of the championship says so much for BRX as we learn more and more against others who’ve more time in rally raids but this means we are even more prepared for the next one.”
“It’s been amazing training again with good mileage in the car that’s built more confidence for myself and for the navigation because it was quite tricky in many places. We had some mechanical issues here that we didn’t have in Morocco which is just the way it goes sometimes in motorsport but victory there will be a memory I’ll have for a long time. I arrived late here as I was with my pregnant wife for as long as possible in France, but I now need to go immediately as I hear she’s in the hospital and it’s happening now!”
Bahrain Raid Xtreme Team Director
“Seb drove brilliantly here this week and congratulations to him. You don’t expect on a Rally Raid event to drive for four days and nearly nine hours of competition and only win by six seconds but a win is a win.”
Bahrain Raid Xtreme Team Principal
“Two out of the last two, and two out of four wins in this year’s championship means a great result for the car again and fantastic to have Seb and Fabian on the top step with a Hunter in BRX colours for the first time. It’s a shame to be that close to the championship but we’re learning still and we’ll come back stronger next year to win it.”
GCK Motorsport Team Manager
“After Morocco rally we came here to get mileage and gauge the speed of how Guerlain and Alex would be on the different surface and that was good, interesting and promising for the Dakar. It’s the second win in a row for the Prodrive Hunter after Guerlain’s win in Morocco and now Seb, so that shows the car is really fast, can win and with everything together can fight hard for the Dakar.”
Andalucia Rally Raid 2022
Overall Finishing Positions
1 Loeb/Lurquin Prodrive Hunter
2 Al-Attiyah/Baumel Toyota +6 secs
3 Al Rajhi/Von Zitzewitz Toyota +8mins 26 secs
Chicherit/Winocq Prodrive Hunter +15m 04secs (Did not complete last road section)
4 De Mevius/Cazalet T3 +27m 07secs
5 Quintero/Zenz T3 +35m 10secs
- ENDS -
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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.