Hermosillo in the state of Sonora, Mexico saw the start of the third round of the World Rally Raid Championship today, Sunday, with a 10 kilometre prologue stage to decide starting positions on the road for the first big stage on Monday.
Sébastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin sped through to fourth position as they opened the road as championship leaders encountering the majority of stones strewn across the surface, but all was taken in the stride of the Prodrive Hunter.
Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq had a clearer road to attack, and that they did to be third across the line with their GCK Motorsport Hunter while the new partner team of Prodrive, X Rally showed their stunning yellow liveried cars in competition for the first time. Marcos Baumgart said, “The car is truly from another place; it’s not from this world…!” while team mate Cristian Baumgart had a very heavy landing that bent some suspension.
Tomorrow holds a 170 kilometre stage that loops into the desert, south of Hermosillo, before returning to the city where the rally has been based for the past three days. Tuesday will see the event move north to Porto Peñasco, on the shores of the Sea of Cortez, for three nights and then up to the Mexico/USA border at San Luis Rio Colorado for the finish on Friday.
Sébastien Loeb - Bahrain Raid Xtreme
“It was a nice stage for the prologue. Quite slippery for 10 kms with a lot of loose gravel on the top so as the first car on the stage we were making ‘the line’ so we will pay a few seconds for that but it’s not too bad. It was important to do a good stage and to now start the rally properly tomorrow with 170 kilometres.”
Guerlain Chicherit - GCK Motorsport
“Last time I was driving was in Abu Dhabi and it wasn’t great after I was ill there so I took it steady today trying to be careful. I was maybe a little bit too cautious - the time is not bad - but I was not really in the rhythm quite yet. Tomorrow is a long stage to get in the full flow so Alex and I will focus on that. It’ll be a good one.”
Cristian Baumgart - X Rally
“It was very nice indeed to be in the new Hunter for the first time against the clock. It was very slippery, very tricky and in all of that we hit a big hole and we bent the rear dampers but the team are fixing that immediately. This is just the beginning, we are here and looking forward to tomorrow and the bigger kilometres.”
Marco Baumgart - X Rally
“For the first time for me on this rally it is just excellent. I will now learn the car on the stages so for tomorrow we will make a base from the start to the finish with every turn letting me know what the car can do. The car is truly from another place; it’s not from this world…!”
Gus Beteli, BRX Team Principal
“It’s great to be on another rally and especially Sonora as a new adventure for us all. We’re glad to be here with Sébastien Loeb heading a four car entry and considering how difficult it is logistically to make it all work between Abu Dhabi and here, it’s been a huge effort. Everyone has worked long hours so to have a new partner team with X Rally alongside GCK Motorsport is fantastic. The plan is to keep all four cars going and keep the lead in the championship.”
SONORA RALLY , PROLOGUE
Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq - Prodrive Hunter - 3rd
Sébastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin - Prodrive Hunter - 4th
Marco Baumgart/Kleber Cincea - Prodrive Hunter - 6th
Christian Baumgart/Beco Andreotti - Prodrive Hunter - 11th
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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.