The Rallye du Maroc has seen the first big test over rugged off road tracks with 316 kilometres that even the organisers predicted would be difficult and tricky. With desert conditions and even a short part of the stage along the beach of the Atlantic Ocean, the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team had speed through the stage but were unlucky to be caught out by punctures over the very toughest sections that were part of the original Paris-Dakar Rally route.
First off from the start line, Orlando Terranova and Alex Haro with their Prodrive Hunter were on exceptional form to show their searing speed in the early part of the stage but relinquished the lead to fellow Prodrive Hunter drivers Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq after a puncture.
Were it not for the time taken changing wheels, Chicherit would have been a very solid candidate for the stage victory today but had to slot in to fourth at the line. Terranova is equally upbeat about the pace of the Hunter crossing the line in fifth today.
Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin clipped a rock at the wrong angle early on that damaged the front suspension necessitating an instant wishbone change in the stage by the World Rally Raid Championship leaders. After a swift change in difficult conditions they continued with their customary fast pace only to take, like many of the top runners, punctures towards the end of the gruelling test.
The BRX team are refreshing the cars tonight as tomorrow sees a series of testing tracks and sandy roads as the Rallye du Maroc heads further south to Laayoune where searing near 40 degree celcius temperatures await.
Sebastien Loeb. 9th
“After such a successful test with the Prodrive Hunter recently, it was a complicated day for us as after 20 kilometres we had a broken wishbone on the front. We lost time changing that but then we were really unlucky to have a couple of punctures, one of which was close to the finish so we ran to the line with it rather than stop. We have the speed with the car so we will be back tomorrow to push again.”
Orly Terranova. 5th
“What I learned today is that I can follow our main rivals through the hardest terrain in a head to head and that’s a positive for this rally with the Prodrive Hunter. I think that the decision to start first on the road was good because further back it would have been very dusty. We had a slight navigational mistake 16 kilometres in that let Guerlain past meaning we had a bit of his dust to get through only to then have a couple of punctures, one flat out at nearly 170kph. We then had to be careful over the last 200 kms as we had no spare tyres.”
Guerlain Chicherit. 4th
“That was a long tough stage for not just me, but the car too but I’m still amazed by what I can do with the car because I understood during the stage where I can push more, particularly through the camel grass, but now I know what the Hunter can do. We were going so well in there today only to catch two punctures in the last 80 kilometres. Very frustrating, but we’re here and I now know the car can make it and more importantly that I can make it to the top of these tough rally raids.”
Gus Beteli. BRX Team Principal
“That was a difficult stage for the cars and for the crews but to see the pace of Guerlain at the start was just stunning, especially as he was first on the road for such a long time. To then be matching Nasser Al-Attiyah on pace in his first event with the Prodrive Hunter was very impressive Very unfortunate for Seb to lose some time too at the beginning but it’s a long rally and we’ve got four days to go with the daily Championship points and when we finish in Agadir on Thursday.”
Al Rajhi/Von Zitzewitz Toyota.
Al Attiyah/Baumel. Toyota. +3m 13 secs
Przygonski/Monleon. Mini Buggy +7m 29 secs
Chicherit/Winocq Prodrive Hunter. +9m 50 secs
Terranova/Haro. Prodrive Hunter +13m 26 secs
Prokop/Chytka Ford +17m 37 secs
Halpern/Graue Mini Buggy +18m 29 secs
Loeb/Lurquin Prodrive Hunter +21m 40 secs
Yacopini/Oliveras Toyota +23m 39 secs
Goczal/Laskawiec Can-Am +26m 35 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.