The penultimate stage of the 2022 Rallye du Maroc saw Bahrain Raid Xtreme’s Orly Terranova and Alex Haro continue to hold their second place overall behind the leading sister Prodrive Hunter of Guerlain Chicherit and Alex Winocq in their GCK Motorsport entered car. Sand storms again battered the southern region of Morocco as the cars and support crews crossed big dunes and some wide open dry river bed crossings over a 350 kilometre stage.
Bahrain Raid Xtreme’s leaders of the World Rally Raid Championship, Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin were once more on the pace only to have a power steering problem in the stage that they were unable to fix out in the desert. Regretfully they retired from the day but with the car returning to service the BRX crew are already making repairs for tomorrow’s final stage.
The GCK Motorsport car of Guerlain Chicherit and Alex Winocq lead the Rallye du Maroc and BRX’s Terranova by just under ten minutes; an impressive feat in their first event behind the wheel of the Prodrive Hunter. However, the pair are all too aware of how demanding every kilometre of rally raids can be and will be fully focussed on every one of the 185 kilometres tomorrow with a run back into Agadir where the rally started last Saturday.
“I had an alarm for the power steering in the stage so we had to stop and saw that a tube was leaking under the car and although we tried to fix it it’s very hard to do out in the desert. There was nothing more we could do so we had to retire from the stage. However, we’re back in service and we’ll push hard to try to score some valuable points tomorrow. Of course this hurts for the Championship but you never know what will happen in the future with so many things changing day to day so let’s go well tomorrow and see where we are.”
“It was good and tricky all in one today. Like yesterday I need to understand why I get flat tyres but again I had two punctures 50 kilometres into the stage so we were forced to run without spare so after that we have to be careful. You know you can go quicker but you are taking care too, but we coped well through the hardest part of the stage. We were so lucky in one step down into a dry river that we didn’t see in the roadbook but we dropped down at least 6 metres. I didn’t brake because otherwise we would’ve been on the roof…it was a big moment.”
‘’It was an amazing, pure Moroccan stage that was difficult with many rocks and tricky navigation but we made a big push in the first part where we took more than two minutes on Nasser (Al Attiyah) so we understood we were at the right speed. After this we checked our pace a little and tried to avoid any punctures as we’ve had about two a day on average so far. Tomorrow is one more day and in all rallies you have to finish after the last kilometre so I will stay focused until the end. It’s still a big stage tomorrow and ten minutes lead is not that much on a rally raid so Alex (Winocq) and I must stay focused.”
Gus Beteli. BRX Team Principal
“Another difficult stage as happens everyday here. Everything can change so quickly but we’ve got two cars at the top of the overall standings after both Guerlain and Orly had a very good stage to confirm their 1-2 positions overall. We’re very happy about that. Obviously it’s disappointing with the issue that Seb had especially for the World Rally Raid Championship but it’s not over yet and we will keep fighting.”
Laâyoune to Tan-Tan
Chicherit/Winocq Prodrive Hunter.
Terranova/Haro. Prodrive Hunter + 9m 57 secs
Al Attiyah/Baumel Toyota +28m 37 secs
Al Rajhi/Von Zitzewitz Toyota +40m 48 secs
Prokop/Chytka Ford +58m 21 secs
Przygonski/Monleon Buggy +1h 02m 24 secs
Esteve/Villalobos Toyota +1h 40m 06 secs
Quintero/Zenz T3 +1h 43m 35 secs
Lopez/Mena Can-Am +1h 54m 59 secs
Guitierrez/Moreno T3 +1h 55m 42 secs
- 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.