The longest day of the 2023 Rallye du Maroc saw both the Bahrain Raid Xtreme crews pushing for the podium with their Prodrive Hunters coming home inside the top six following 311 kilometres of tortuous tracks, dunes and hidden traps as the rally headed due east from Agadir.
Sébastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin were within touching distance of the victory to be just 4m 38s from the top step while former winner of the Rallye du Maroc Orly Terranova/Bernando Graue took sixth, an impressive feat after not having driven the car since Dakar.
An early start, intense heat and navigational difficulties meant the stage was never going to ‘ease the crews’ into the rhythm of the rally but that was no problem for the two red Prodrive Hunters that took it in their stride across the plains.
Nestled in a stunning valley near Zagora, the BRX service area will see the team working late into the evening before well-earned rest in a traditional bivouac and then the 388 kilometres that make stage two tomorrow.
Sébastien Loeb - BRX
“We had a clean stage with no mistakes, no punctures, no problems so we are very happy. We were in some dust for a little time and then I caught Peterhansel but we were stuck behind him for maybe 150kms until we forged past. We were following the motorbike tracks but opted to cross some fresh dunes to hit a waypoint so it wasn’t an easy day but a bit of everything to make a good stage.”
Orly Terranova - BRX
“Not bad after a long time without being in the car! It was a good start for us especially over 700+ kms and such a difficult stage. The car is in one piece and we’ll work hard to go a little quicker over these next stages.”
Gus Beteli, BRX Team Principal
“A tough day for the crews today with 400 kms of road and 300 kms in the heart of the stage. Seb and Orly had a good day being quick and consistent over the tracks so the target to win this rally is on track come the end of stage five. However there’s no rest as another tough stage tomorrow so we’re prepping the cars for more rugged running.”
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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 2021 and 2022. 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.