After sprinting away from the start line following their stage 1A victory yesterday, Sebastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin had the bit between their teeth as they went into the very tough 319 kilometres of stage 1B on the Andalucia Rally today. At speeds of up to 170kph they made terrific progress but were hampered by what has later been discovered as a technical problem with the validation of a waypoint to competitor’s digital road books. Intermittent problems with the power steering resulted in the Frenchman adapting his driving over the final kilometres but Loeb’s experience and prowess got the Prodrive Hunter to third position on the day; an incredible achievement.
GCK Motorsport with Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq were equally hampered by the strange waypoint glitch but were much more hand in glove with their Hunter over the longer stage. Some steering problems right at the end lost them a little time but they returned to the Seville based service ready for the 335 kilometres of stage two.
It must be noted that at the time of writing the results are provisional until the navigational problems that saw so many struggling to find waypoint number 100 have been resolved.
Tomorrow’s stage is in the hills north of Malaga close to the El Torcal de Antequera nature reserve in the Sierra del Torcal mountain range that is known for its unusual landforms and is one of the most impressive landscapes in Europe.
Bahrain Raid Xtreme
“It was a complicated stage. The navigation was difficult in the initial kilometres so soon the other cars arrived around us. That was really tough. At the end of the first section some problems with the power steering appeared but fortunately it didn’t completely ’go’ but it stayed with me. In some slow corners it was difficult to turn the wheel but in general we didn’t lose so much time with the actual technical problem as it was the navigation that was so hard. If you get a little bit wrong in the middle of the olive trees, everything looks the same and then it’s very difficult to hit the waypoints as so many have been positioned so close so if you are a little bit wrong you have to turn around immediately. Tomorrow is another day; we’ll be back.”
“That was a big stage in there. Early on we couldn’t find one way point (the same way point Sebastien was looking for) so we lost about five minutes there and then soon with many trying to find a waypoint. That’s annoying as you’ve lost time for almost no reason. Then over the last 30 kilometres I lost the power steering so that was a big physical effort but we got to the finish in fifth and we’ll be ready for stage two.”
Bahrain Raid Xtreme Team Principal
“A surprisingly difficult stage with the amount of waypoints, single tracks and trees so tricky navigation but the guys did a very good job to bring the cars back to service with the power steering glitches. They really did very well there. It’s our first time here on the Andalucia Rally so we’re always learning and still keeping the push on for the world championship. With three days to go we’ll try to score as many points as we can and see what happens come Sunday.”
Overall after Stage 1B.
*please note these are provisional positions as times are being adjusted due to a problem with a navigational waypoint
1 Al-Attiyah/Baumel Toyota
2 Al Rajhi/Von Zitzewitz Toyota
3 Loeb/Lurquin Prodrive Hunter
4 Van Loon/Delaunay Toyota
5 Chicherit/Winocq Prodrive Hunter
- 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.