Bahrain Raid Xtreme will start their third Dakar Rally with a four car team of sustainably fuelled Prodrive Hunters tested, developed and ready for the biggest adventure in the world of motorsport with the rally crossing some of the hardest desert terrain seen in recent years. Following outright victory on two of the four World Rally Raid Championship events in 2022 the BRX team is prepared as ever with updates on the cars, new staff and a hunger for what lies ahead across the Saudi Arabian sands.
From second place in Dakar 2022, Sebastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin aim to take one of the greatest prizes in sport after a 2022 season hand in glove with the Prodrive Hunter T1+ that debuted on the event 12 months ago that was part of eight stage podium finishes for the team. Argentine Orly Terranova with Spaniard Alex Haro will be alongside them following a superb second place on the Rallye du Maroc in October as they get quicker and more confident in the car.
The team will also be running the GCK Motorsport Hunter for Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq who scored a stunning victory first time out on Rallye du Maroc in October proving the adaptability of not only the Frenchman but the car in a newcomer’s hands. Popular Lithuanian Vaidotas Zala/Paulo Fiuza make the step up to a Hunter with his eye catching Teltonika Racing livery that is already a favourite of many.
The BRX team continue to use Prodrive EcoPower biofuel created by Coryton from sustainable sources that produces 80% less CO2 from Hunters on all of the stages as the team drives forward alternative solutions for motorsport. Engineers have also made subtle but important modifications to the cars following extensive tests in the searing heat of the Sahara desert.
Dakar 2023 is the biggest undertaking from Prodrive in recent years with huge logistical coordination from all over Europe that has seen 27 vehicles loaded on the ship that is transporting everything from Marseille to Jeddah in late November ready for the team to get to the first bivouac at Sea Camp north of Jeddah immediately after Christmas.
The route of Dakar 2023 will be the longest for over ten years and one the organisers promise will be harder than the previous three editions in the Kingdom as the route ventures into the Empty Quarter of the country for the first time. The total distance covered will be 8,550 kms, 4,705kms of which will be special stages against the clock but to put the total distance into perspective it’s similar to driving from London to Los Angeles or Jeddah to Shanghai.
Pictures and reports emanating from the recce that was made in October show big, soft dunes that some say will test the drivers to a degree not seen since the early 90s so the endurance for the crews, technicians, and engineers will be a real challenge with two more days of competition than previous years.
The ‘Marathon stage’ will return this Dakar where drivers have to do two whole days driving without any service from the regular technicians after the difficulties of battling through the soft dunes of the Empty Quarter as the organisers sprinkle that element of the early African Dakar into 2023.
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“We have a very good car for Dakar after excellent preparation in Morocco and Andalucia proving that we’re right up there with the performance of the Hunter. Fabian and I are ready to go and ready to concentrate on our job inside the car from our point of view so we will try to be consistent and get some clean stages with no problems. We will have some long days in the dunes and that’s where you have to stay focussed but that is our target this year. We’re looking forward to it.”
“I’ve been training hard for this, my 15th Dakar. The first week we all know will be hard with many kilometres to be tackled over new terrain in Saudi Arabia that’ll test us all so we must be concentrated and in the best possible shape. Alex and I were close to winning Morocco but the rocks just punctured the tyres a little too often so that’s something we have to manage on Dakar. After fourth last year and a stage victory, we’re up for the challenge.”
“I am very happy to attempt my 12th Dakar with a competitive and reliable car. Prodrive is a very professional team; everything they do, they do it well! What's more, we share the same vision which is to fuel the future of greener motoring in motorsport. The Hunter fits with GCK’s ecological stance, running on sustainable fuel made from agricultural waste. It is difficult to announce a goal at this moment but all I can say is we have a good car that will allow Alex and I to fight until the end. Whatever happens, this rally will be beneficial to GCK Motorsport because it is part of a learning curve as the team builds up the confidence to take a hydrogen car to the top in the future."
“This will be the start of my life. For the first time ever, we will be racing the same machinery as top guys like Seb. It’s easy to get overexcited, hence we try to keep our goals moderate, but as long as we finish higher than last Dakar, it will be sufficient to build on our future racing career.”
Gus Beteli, Team Principal
“We’re getting ready for our third Dakar following second and fourth on the rally in 2022. We’re much more prepared this year as the team has had more time to experience other rallies on which we’ve taken two victories in Morocco and Andalucia so that’s helped with the confidence and the reliability in the car. It’s also a step up having a large team with almost 70 people and 27 vehicles so operationally it’s a big challenge but everyone is ready for it, prepared and looking towards the top step of the podium.”
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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.