Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin bounced back in style today on the Dakar to finish second just 29 seconds off the stage victory following nearly four hours of rugged running through more of the hardest Dakar terrain so far in this fifth edition of the rally in Saudi Arabia. Starting 18th off the line following yesterday’s stage result, the pair upped the pace in their Prodrive Hunter to now be third overall after two of 14 stages set for 2024.
The stage comprised of, as always, a bit of everything with fast sections that saw the cars hit their max speed of 170kph, some big dunes for a short section of 30kms but that gave no time for sightseeing as they passed the palace built by the founder of Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saud.
As always though, the organisers put in hundreds of waypoints for each competitor to reach with even the best in the world having to check their pace now and again to reach them and not incur any penalties. Loeb and Lurquin had a couple of moments such as this where they had to check and re-check their position, but Lurquin made sure of the route before continuing in the Hunter.
Technically there were no problems for the Hunter across the 462 kilometres today as the car tackles its fourth Dakar, however the Prodrive technicians and engineers are continuously evolving the Hunter to where it can be stronger and faster on rally raids with new ideas always coming to the fore.
The bivouac tonight is at Al Duwadimi that was scheduled to be a stop 12 months ago but was ironically underwater after torrential rain hit the rally. Tomorrow is not only a big day on the stage with 440 kilometres, but the service area too will be a battle of the teams as there will be just two hours of service time before a parc ferme tomorrow night in Al Salamiya.
Sébastien Loeb - BRX
“It was a good stage for us at nearly 470kms so we tried to push hard over the whole stage. There was a moment when we weren’t quite right on the navigation but Fabian got it right and we returned to the route quickly to be on track. It was not easy, but overall it was a nice stage to drive.”
Gus Beteli, BRX Team Principal
“A much better day today. Starting a little further back helped a little with navigation but then there’s some dust to contend with too so finishing in second place and taking much of the deficit back from yesterday is an amazing achievement. With ten days to go we need to keep this up to push higher and higher in the overall rankings.”
Stage 2 Result
Al Henakiyah - Al Duwadimi, 462kms
2nd Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter
3rd Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter +4m17s
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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.