Sébastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin are back on top of a World Rally Raid Championship event today after winning the 162 kilometre second stage of the Sonora Rally taking a narrow three second overall too. Loeb established a cautious approach early on with his rhythm through the ‘gigante’ cacti ultimately heading a fantastic run of all four Prodrive Hunters on the event inside the top five at the line.
Traditionally home to the stateside ‘off road’ Baja racers, the landscape is something very new to the W2RC regulars with the vista looking very similar to a Hollywood western wherever they turned. Even the cactus spikes stuck into the spare tyres that are each side of the Hunter on the stage with technicians being ultra careful with their fingers when the cars arrived into the bivouac after the stage…
X Rally’s Marcos and Cristian Baumgart brought their Prodrive Hunters into a fantastic third and fourth on only their second full competitive stage in the cars, a truly impressive result but proving their speed that they’ve nurtured in Brazil.
GCK Motorsport’s Guerlain Chicherit had a scorching pace at the start of the stage that matched the weather, but lost front wheel drive over the last 45 kilometres due to a driveshaft glitch. He and Alex Winocq were still fifth on the stage some 3m 50 secs back of Loeb. What could have been for the 2022 Rallye du Maroc winner…
The rally has three days remaining before the finish on Friday in San Luis Rio Colorado.
Sébastien Loeb - Bahrain Raid Xtreme
“It was a good day and we took the win for Bahrain Raid Xtreme and for Prodrive. No problem at all. I tried to take a good pace from the start even though the first kilometres were really tricky, a bit dangerous even, so I was a little cautious, but after that it was a nice stage. Very narrow in some places and not easy to get through the cactus with a big car but at the end we kept that pace right to the finish. We took the stage so now we open tomorrow but for today, it’s a great result.”
Guerlain Chicherit - GCK Motorsport
“We had a good start, the speed was right there and we were really pushing until we stopped at the neutralisation. When we restarted we lost the front wheel drive so we did the last 45kms on rear wheels drive so there was nothing we can do but just tried to not lose too much at the end. We’ll be back tomorrow.”
Cristian Baumgart - X Rally
“The stage was great as I’m continuing to learn the car and we’re very happy to be inside the top 5 with this on only our second stage in the Hunter. We’re going step by step, but it’s great.”
Marco Baumgart - X Rally
“For today the stage was very nice, navigation great and the car perfect! The terrain was very similar to Brazil in the Jalapão area but here there are more cactus but it’s very nice to drive. Tomorrow we can start to up the pace and see if we can catch some others on the stage.”
Gus Beteli, BRX Team Principal
“That was a fantastic day with four cars inside the top five. Seb taking the win and taking the lead of the rally too; that’s always the aim to take more points in the championship so we’re a happy camp. The GCK crew will be back up here tomorrow, but they’re third overall which is also great. For the Brazilian duo of Marcos and Cristian to be inside the top five on only their second full stage in the car…we’re very impressed and look forward to more.”
SONORA RALLY , STAGE 2
Sébastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin - Prodrive Hunter - 1st
Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq - Prodrive Hunter - 3rd +4m57s
Marco Baumgart/Kleber Cincea - Prodrive Hunter - 8th +8m51s
Christian Baumgart/Beco Andreotti - Prodrive Hunter - 10th +12m14s
- 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.