The second half of the 2022 World Rally Raid Championship kicks off with the Rallye du Maroc this week as the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team head the title chase with Sebastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin with their Prodrive Hunter. Making a three car assault, BRX will also run 4th place man from Dakar 2022 Orly Terranova/Alex Haro and Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq who will be running in his GCK Motorsport colours.
Rallye du Maroc (October 1st - 6th) will make a break from the eastern deserts used in the past, this time returning to the western coast. Starting from Agadir the route will take in six stages covering 1575 kms of stages across more sand than seen in previous years. Bivouacs at Tan-Tan and Laayoune will spark memories of Dakar Rallies from the 2000s but the stages will be similar to those seen in Saudi Arabia for the current Dakar.
BRX continues to head the tables using sustainable Eco-Power fuel thus reducing CO2 emissions by 80%, something that the team have been using all season but the push for speed never stops. The entire team has been working hard since the last round in Abu Dhabi, recently covering 2500kms of testing with three cars around Zagora and Erfoud (Morocco) in preparation for not only Rallye du Maroc but Dakar 2023 too. Updates to drivetrain, suspension and navigational procedures with the Prodrive Hunter went well in the searing near 50 degree conditions that were a real-life test so the team are happy to go straight into the two back-to-back rallies with Andalucia Rally only days after Rallye du Maroc.
Nani Roma has recently returned to the seat of one of our BRX Prodrive Hunters during the test in Morocco in which he got back up to full speed again in a car he has been so instrumental in developing. The Spaniard was diagnosed with cancer in March of this year but has fought hard through treatment to be able to return to test the car in a rally raid scenario months ahead of what was previously expected.
Following this successful test in Morocco and his driving at the Salon Privé event in the UK with the Hunter Hypercar, the two-time Dakar winner will continue to work with the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team in developing the cars as both programmes grow. However, it is unfortunately too late in the schedule for Nani to compete with the team in Morocco and Spain next month, and Dakar in January 2023.
Gus Beteli, Team Principal BRX
Following a very positive test in Morocco we’re very much looking forward to being back rallying against the competition, the clock and the desert. Seb, Orly and Guerlain have further improved the package we have through not leaving any angle unexplored for this World Championship push in the next weeks in Morocco and Spain. These are busy but exciting times at BRX. Nani’s next duties for us will be demonstrating and testing the Hunter Hypercar in Dubai during November but most importantly, we at BRX and Prodrive have all been hugely heartened with the speed of Nani’s progress to be able to get back into the driving seat and see the smile back on his face after some difficult times
Sebastien Loeb. #200
We won the Extreme E race in Chile for X44 so the goal will be to continue in the same way for Morocco! The test with the Prodrive Hunter has been good; we had a good feeling with the car and it was reliable too so everything is working well at the moment. We know that Nasser will be fast in Morocco and Audi also even if the fight is with Nasser for the championship. At the moment Fabian and I are leading and that’s good, but the gap is very small so we have to fight hard to get some more good points for the title. That’s the target for Morocco.
Orly Terranova #203
I am happy to be back again rallying. The test was a great experience, like a warm up, with the car very strong but also I started well with Alex (Haro, co-driver). My personal target is to do a good rally and get quicker as the rally progresses. This is a big test for the Dakar as Morocco is a tough rally but one that I enjoy too.
Guerlain Chicherit #208
I discovered the Prodrive Hunter in mid-September during two days of private testing in Morocco. I was very surprised to see how the car is easy to drive and I felt comfortable enough to exploit it quite quickly. I really tried to push it as much as I could because that's what testing is for but I must admit that the car is very, very strong! Rallye du Maroc is very hard for the cars and for the crews; in short, one kilometre in Morocco counts double or triple in normal conditions. I will do everything I can and if we are in the game, it will give us confidence for the Dakar.
October 1 Stage 1A
9 kms Agadir - Agadir
October 2 Stage 1B
316 kms Agadir - Tan-Tan
October 3 Stage 2
315 kms Tan-Tan - Laayoune
October 4 Stage 3
299 kms Laayoune - Laayoune
October 5 Stage 4
346 kms Laayoune - Tan-Tan
October 6 Stage 5
290 kms Tan-Tan - to Agadir
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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.