The Bahrain Raid Xtreme team have started the Andalucia Rally in fine style with Sebastian Loeb and Fabian Lurquin taking the victory of stage 1A with a scintillating display of speed and commitment over the opening kilometres of the showdown of the FIA World Rally Raid Championship. With a head to head battle for the 2022 title against Nasser Al-Attiyah over the coming days in the south of Spain, BRX’s Loeb has had the perfect start to the five tests that make up the rally.
Following on from their Prodrive Hunter’s win last time out on the Rallye du Maroc, Guerlain Chicherit and Alex Winocq cleared the stage safely after a slight delay in Guerlain arriving to Seville due to being alongside his wife who is about to give birth.
Tomorrow sees the first real stage of the rally with a 319 kilometre stage right in the heart of true Andalucian countryside with tracks and roads that should go well with the Loeb/Lurquin partnership inside the Prodrive Hunter. This rally is a complete juxtaposition to the wide open desert and rocky terrain of the Rallye du Maroc two weeks ago so with the car set up to the local terrain by the experienced Prodrive engineers it will be a very tense battle to narrow the championship gap for Loeb.
Sebastien Loeb, Stage winner
Bahrain Raid Xtreme
“It was a good push for sure but it was the stage where we could do a recce so for me it was a bit like WRC style and I could really push with the car right from the start. We made a big attack that ultimately was perfect, no mistakes at all so it was nice; a great opener. However, it's only the initial kilometres with the long stages coming tomorrow and over the next days. Let’s see,”
“That was quite difficult for me I have to say as the car has a very different setup for this rally so I haven’t got my confidence yet. It’ll be a good set up but I have to get used to it first. I arrived quite late today and I didn't have the chance to work and see the stage like the others but in some places it was really, really tricky and I didn't want to take any risk. But anyway, it's just the first small stage and it will all be good on the big stages over the next days.”
Bahrain Raid Xtreme Team Principal
“That’s a great start after a lot of preparation following our win in Morocco. The stage obviously suits Seb’s skills well so now we need to get ourselves a good position on the road tomorrow and see what we can do.”
GCK Motorsport Team Manager
“It’s good to have the rally started now but without the chance for Guerlain Chicherit to have done the recce over that stage that was quite a disadvantage but tomorrow is the first proper day with a long stage so let’s see where we’ll be in 24 hours time.”
1 Loeb/Lurquin Prodrive Hunter
2 Al-Attiyah/Baumel Toyota +5 secs
3 Al Rajhi/Von Zitzewitz Toyota +17 secs
4 Chicherit/Winocq Prodrive Hunter +31 secs
5 Dias/Miranda T3 +33 secs
6 Ferreira/Monteiro Mini +34 secs
7 De Mevius/Cazalet T3 +36 secs
8 Van Loon/Delaunay Toyota +37 secs
9 Baciuska/Vidal T4 +37 secs
10 Carvalho/Morais T3 +38 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.