Sebastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin have taken the debut win for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team on the Dakar rally today after powering through the 338 km second stage in their Prodrive Hunter to finish 3 mins 28 seconds ahead of the competition after 3 hours 25 minutes of hard driving through the northern part of Saudi Arabia. The Prodrive Hunter also made history by becoming the first car to win a stage of the Dakar rally powered by sustainable fuel. The Hunter runs on Prodrive EcoPower, which is made from agricultural waste, reducing CO2 emissions by 80% compared to petrol. On just today’s stage alone, that is a reduction of more than 3 tonnes of the greenhouse gas, helping to demonstrate how such fuels can immediately help fight climate change.
Nani Roma/Alex Haro further confirmed the pace of the Hunter with a fifth place, only 8 mins 2 seconds behind for the all Spanish crew, as they drove through the first big dunes of the 44th running of the world’s largest and most demanding motorsport event that covers 8,375 km over two weeks. They started 27th so had to battle through heavy sand that had been broken up by the bikes and cars that had already passed through.
Orlando Terranova came home in 13th position following some small technical problems, but the crew are already working on the car to resolve this before tomorrow’s stage. He has maintained his place in the top ten overall.
Sebastien Loeb said: “It was a real battle as Nasser was pushing very hard over the sand as he was opening the stage and really fast. We pushed hard like we were on a WRC rally for 340 km so it was exciting and really tough but we have a fantastic result at the end. Towards the end of the stage Nasser and I were driving together through the dunes, but then there were a lot of stones so I tried to lead so I could pick the line and try to avoid a puncture so we could finish the stage well, as yesterday I had two flats. It was not such a big question of navigation today as the line was really clear to see for Fabian and me. It’s a fantastic result for BRX and proof of the benefits of sustainable fuel for such long distance events. After an enormous amount of work by so many people over so many months, we are proud to take this debut stage for the team.”
Nani Roma said: “It was a good day for us in the car. We’re happy with how things have turned out as this stage has been so much better for us, so things are on track for Alex and me. We expected to be a little bit faster but in the beginning there were many cars in front of us so the sand had been chewed up making it really soft with very deep wheel tracks that meant we were bottoming out and that hurts on landing. However, it is just fantastic for the team that Seb and Fabian won the stage but there’s a long way to go with many days ahead.”
Gus Beteli, said: “A great day with the first stage win for BRX thanks to Seb and Fabian having such great pace all the way through the difficult 338 km. It’s quite a big task to beat Nasser (Al-Attiyah) in these types of dunes. We’re very happy to have had no major problems which is the main thing, but aware we still have 11 days to go. We have to remember that this is essentially our second car in two years after the first Prodrive Hunter last Dakar, so it’s been a massive amount work with the design phase, development and testing all through the pandemic, so understandably it’s a very proud moment for everyone in the team on site in Saudi Arabia and back at base to get this stage victory and to show that sustainable fuels really have a key role to play in the future of sustainable motorsport. ”