Reminiscent of Dakar Rallies past, the third stage of the Rallye du Maroc saw scorching temperatures, dunes, rocky tracks and a sand storm across all of the 320 kilometres around Laâyoune today. However, the only thing that changed for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme and GCK Motorsport teams were the order in which they are now in the top 3 of the overall standings with Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq leading with two days to go.
For the GCK Motorsport Prodrive Hunter to take the 47 second advantage with Guerlain in his first rally raid with the car is a testament to the speed, consistency and confidence he has carried over the Moroccan stages for the last four days.
Leaders of the rally overnight Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin drove carefully over the rocks, indeed only suffering one puncture, but it was not an easy task to open the road with the strong winds covering the tracks of the last bikes and quads that started 30 minutes earlier. Nevertheless, they are now third overall, only 4 minutes and 50 seconds back from Chicherit’s leading Prodrive Hunter.
Orly Terranova and Alex Haro remain in second place overall less than a minute off the lead after over 10 hours of rallying that started last Saturday, proof that the competitive nature of the FIA World Rally Raid Championship is as hot as ever. The Argentine is driving well with a cool head in difficult situations as he continues to be more and more hand-in-glove with the car.
All three of the Prodrive Hunters are continuing to run on EcoPower sustainable fuel that reduces CO2 emissions by 80% over the toughest terrain seen in any international motorsport; Rally Raids. Only minor mapping tweaks were made to the 3.5 litre twin turbo engine for the fuel to be first used on this year’s Dakar Rally where the cars finished second and fourth overall including three stage victories.
Tomorrow the Rallye du Maroc heads back north to Tan-Tan but first the team of BRX mechanics will work in the difficult, hot and dusty conditions at the Laâyoune bivouac to once more prepare the Hunters for the rigours of what promises to be the toughest of stages seen for some time.
“That was a complicated day. We only had one puncture which is less than many but we got lost a couple of times for a little bit even though I think many others had the same problem. 10 minutes were lost there but we will see as everything is close. The fight is going to be very tight over these remaining two stages.”
“That was difficult in the there as after just 50 kilometres we’d already used up our spare tyres so psychologically that’s then difficult with a long way to go without spares. So I said to myself, ‘OK, drive easy, carefully until the end’ and we are here. In the big overall picture it’s good with second overall, two stages to go and a good start position for tomorrow.”
‘’That was a tough day like every day but we never stop fighting. We really wanted to try to win the stage and lead the rally overall but we did 50% of the contract! We made a mistake on the maps early on but I think Seb and Orly did the same. Then a couple of punctures but for the rest of the stage we pushed as much as possible like we do. Alex alongside me did a brilliant job but again, the car everyday is just amazing; I love this car even more everyday. So, now we are leading overall with two days to go so we need to stay focussed and finish the rally.”
Gus Beteli. BRX Team Principal.
“It’s one day at a time on this rally. As we’ve seen, everything changes every day so we just need to keep all three cars going over these particularly difficult stages. We’re in a good position in the overall standings so we need to get these last two stages completed and watch the positions in the world championship.”
Laâyoune to Laâyoune
1. Chicherit/Winocq Prodrive Hunter.
2. Terranova/Haro. Prodrive Hunter + 47 secs
3. Loeb/Lurquin Prodrive Hunter +4m 50 secs
4. Al Attiyah/Baumel Toyota +27m 37 secs
5. Prokop/Chytka Ford +33m 36 secs
6. Przygonski/Monleon Buggy +38m 15 secs
7. Al Rajhi/Von Zitzewitz Toyota. +42m 18 secs
8. Yacopini/Oliveras Toyota +46m 24secs
9. Esteve/Villalobos Toyota +58m 57 secs
10. Lopez/Mena Can-Am +1h 5m 52 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.