The longest stage of the Dakar rally took place today seeing 465 km from Al Qaisumah to Riyadh with the Bahrain Raid Xtreme crew of Sebastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin taking second place just 25 seconds off the victory after nearly four hours of intense driving. Once again Loeb showed the pace of the Prodrive Hunter in the unforgiving conditions of the Saudi Arabian desert. It was a fantastic reward for the whole BRX team who were working on Loeb’s car until 4.15am this morning and ensured they continue to hold second overall in the 44th running of the Dakar Rally.
Argentina’s Orlando Terranova with Spanish co-driver Dani Oliveras had yet another strong run in their first Dakar for the BRX team with another tenth place today, but it could have been so much better were it not for getting caught in the dust of Lucas Alvarez for a while, a puncture and then helping team mate Nani Roma.
Two-time Dakar winner, Nani Roma had bad luck on the test hitting a dip and rolling the car. He got going again but there was extensive damage to a wheel necessitating quite some work so Nani took the car carefully out of the stage and safely back to the bivouac in Riyadh where the technicians will assess the work needed for an expected restart tomorrow morning.
Sebastien Loeb said:
“Today we did a good stage with the car going very well indeed. We could push all through this longest stage without taking too much risk and yet still avoid the chance of a puncture or taking the wrong route. In fact, we hardly made any mistakes at all focussing on taking a good rhythm as it was the kind of stage where you couldn’t make a big difference, so I just took it as I feel, it was a good one and we are still here fighting. Tomorrow is a different stage to the motorbikes so the first car will really make the line and open the stage so those further back can make some big differences. We will be third on the road, better than first, and then we will see tomorrow.”
Orlando Terranova said:
“It was a long day today. We stopped at the start to help Nani and afterwards we had a puncture but then we had a great run passing Alvarez and Serradori but that wasn’t easy as it was so dusty. I think that we are trying to find more speed and we’re doing just that as it was fun out there yesterday and today. Now we will give some more tweaks to the car to improve another step.”
Gus Beteli, BRX team principal, said:
“The longest stage but with three manufacturers inside the top three and just 52 seconds between them shows how competitive this new FIA Rally Raid World Championship is. Seb is doing a brilliant job and is doing what he needs to do at this point of the rally and sure there is a big gap to catch Nasser but we’re only on stage four. The car has been reliable after the problems he had yesterday so that’s a great positive. Orlando has had a very good run in the top ten again which is an excellent result considering he stopped for a puncture and to check with Nani.”