Sebastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin have taken their second Dakar stage win for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team today as the rally forged on with the 402 km stage west of Riyadh to Al Dawadimi. It was a third Dakar stage win for the Prodrive Hunter following Orlando Terranova’s victory on the previous stage proving once more the strength, versatility and speed of the Hunter, which is competing in its first event on the most demanding rally on the planet. For Frenchman Loeb, it was his 16th Dakar stage win as he regains second overall in the standings.
Nani Roma/Alex Haro kept to their task to come home in ninth position despite having to fight through the final kilometres stuck in the dust of another competitor.
Orlando Terranova/Dani Oliveras opened the stage having won the previous leg, a very difficult job to execute, but the new pairing, who started their Dakar careers on motorcycles, drove well to move up the leader board to sixth in the overall standings while coming 11th today.
Tomorrow’s stage is of similar distance but already the organisers have warned it is going to be a stand out stage with a further element of difficulty over the 395 kms.
Sebastien Loeb said: “Only half of the rally is done but we tried to push today even though we were a little unlucky towards the end of the stage with a problem with the fuelling system, so we were very slow at the end so we could have gone even quicker. We’re still doing a good time so we will see as we will continue to fight and we will see in the next stages where we are as I can only do the best I can in the stages remaining. After the refresh in Riyadh the car drives well and feels good so that’s another thing we have up our sleeve with these remaining kilometres.”
Nani Roma said: “Not a bad day at all, but what was difficult was passing one of the buggies as then he passed us back and kicked up a load of dust with stones, cutting corners, driving all over the road so for us the navigation was not easy at all. A little bit of bad luck after the neutralisation was that our air con failed so it was really hot in car and that’s not easy it must’ve been 50 degrees for sure! However it’s brilliant that there has been another victory for the team with Sebastien and Fabian to make win number three so that’s great to see in the eyes of everyone at BRX when we arrived at the bivouac.”
Orlando Terranova said: “I think that it was the hardest day for opening the stage as if we compare the first stage to this, it was really difficult. The piste and the tracks were not visible with stones and a lot of changes of directions so in all I think we did a good job, but we need to work on improving finding our way again when we make a mistake; that’s a challenge for us. What’s great is we jump up one position overall but we now must get some rest as tomorrow is going to be a very long day.”
Gus Beteli, BRX team principal, said: “A great win for Seb and Fabian with another five minutes taken out of Nasser; it’s still a long way but we keep trying every kilometre to take a little bit so not a bad day at all after the rest day which is never a rest day after everyone re-prepped the cars. A difficult one for Orlando after opening the road but he’s sixth now so his clear target is to get top five come Jeddah and great from Nani to be there as a help for the other two cars so very positive indeed. With the amount of testing we did we’re very happy indeed as we were restricted to half what we planned due to covid so its very good.”