The penultimate stage of Dakar 2022 took place under scorching sun today around Bisha with Sebastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin coming across the line to hold second position overall on the first rally for the Prodrive Hunter T1+. Loeb sped through the stage to take second, just 2m 21 seconds behind the winner, but received a five minute penalty for speeding on a speed limit zone, dropping him back to 8th. There remains just one more day of the rally with 154 kms to run tomorrow from Bisha to Jeddah, where the rally started nearly two weeks ago. The team will be looking to maintain its two top four placings tomorrow, in what would be a fantastic start to the life of the Hunter T1+.
Nani Roma/Alex Haro flew over the 346 kms to get fourth place on the stage as the two-time Dakar winner got into a rhythm, loving the sands and the dunes he’s driven so often in Africa, South America and now Saudi Arabia. Their time could have been better, but Nani is driving carefully as his co-driver Alex Haro is still nursing a broken rib from the end of the first week.
Orlando Terranova/Dani Oliveras have again shown great speed in the Prodrive Hunter, extending their lead in fourth position. Tomorrow the Argentine is on course to take his highest ever finish on the Dakar Rally, his previous best being a fifth in South America. For the 41 year old to take the result among such world class competition is proof that Terranova has built his rally raid speed on this event and that the Prodrive Hunter has even more potential to come with more rallies in the World Rally-Raid Championship later this year.
Nani Roma said: “It was a great day with a really nice stage that was actually one of the hardest stages of the rally this year, something that I really liked. It had nice dunes and some camel grass that were really difficult for Alex’s injured rib so in the end I drove around the worst of them but those dunes were magic. For me though as we come towards the finish of the rally, it has really made me realise this T1+ Hunter is so strong that we cannot compare with the older car of last year, especially over the camel grass of today. It really is on another level.”
Sebastien Loeb said: “Yes, that was a good day out there doing what we could to keep our important second place overall for BRX. The car has been strong and quick too, especially on the car’s first event, something the team should be very proud of. It’s been another good day too with the navigation as Fabian has done a superb job all rally even if there was a little bit of trouble at the first way point, but we were not alone and a lot of other cars struggled too. Were it not for that we had a good stage with good rhythm and good navigation, no problem. It was a good day out there.”
Orlando Terranova said: “For me it was the hardest stage of this year’s Dakar but actually it was very nice to drive. We were stuck in the dust of Peterhansel after he made a mistake 2 kms after the start but after then it was nice. I think the challenge was to keep the time gap to De Villiers who is 13 minutes behind us and in the end we made it. Tomorrow should be less difficult, so I think my best result of fourth overall is as good as in our hands and that’s a wonderful result for Dani and I.”
Gus Beteli, BRX team principal, said: “That was actually a difficult stage today with big dunes and soft sand so I think it was really the first proper Dakar stage today and it was Nani who showed really good speed in there coming back from helping the team over the past few days to being in touch with the leaders. Seb did well to get some time off Nasser but it’s never enough with the time we have remaining - Maybe we need another three days to see what we can do! However, what a mega job from Orlando to be fourth overall and holding that place so well before tomorrow’s last run into Jeddah to finish the job.”