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Dakar 2024: Loeb and Lurquin remain in second on Dakar Rally

Dakar 2024: Loeb and Lurquin remain in second on Dakar Rally

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  • The red Hunter rally raid of Loeb & Lurquin turns through a field of black volcanic rock as dust flies up behind them
  • Loeb & Lurquin return to the black volcanic rocks after the dunes of the last few stages of the Dakar 2024

From stage victory 24 hours ago to a way point that was difficult to find today has shown how things can change so quickly on the Dakar for Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin as they had to double back to validate a navigational point. The Bahrain Raid Xtreme duo continue to remain in second place overall on the Dakar and as motivated as ever to step one place higher in the standings.
Loeb and Lurquin were first on the road this morning out of Al-Duwadimi for a stage that was 458 kms with a 179 kms neutralised section in the middle that the crews had to complete but not under pure flat out rallying conditions so essentially there were 279 kms of rallying against the clock. Their pace was electrifying early on, building an advantage at all the time checks to be over three minutes faster than overall leader Carlos Sainz.

However being first on the road means first over the tracks, the junctions and the waypoints and it was one waypoint that was difficult to find necessitating a U-turn to locate it. Once found the pace again was there but ten minutes were lost.

The huge dunes are now gone until next year but there were some smaller ones on the route today combined with a return of the black volcanic rocks too that can be so tricky causing punctures at any time, however Seb struck the balance today with speed and endurance with the Hunter over such a challenging stage. There were also some big climbs out of the chotts (large, flat dry lake beds) that needed every single horsepower from under Loeb’s right foot to crest.

Ha’il is a regular area in Saudi Arabia for Rally Raids and Baja events so it is well known by many of the competitors with the bivouac based on the outskirts of the city. However the Dakar only stays here for one evening before hot footing it back to AlUla tomorrow which hosted the start of the rally on January 5th.

Four stages remain until the conclusion of the Dakar in Yanbu with still 1,443 kilometres remaining against the clock. The organisers have outlined that the second to last day is going to be tremendously difficult as has regularly been the case for many a Dakar over the years, so as so many say about big motorsport endurance events, there is a long way still to go starting with 436 kms in stage nine tomorrow.

Sébastien Loeb - BRX: “It was a difficult day for us unfortunately and not the result we expected after such a strong start this morning making up some time. We were pushing hard all the stage with a good rhythm but on one way point we struggled to find it and lost around ten minutes so that was very frustrating. We’ve lost six minutes overall to the lead so it is not what we wanted, but it is like this. It’s the Dakar. We will push the max tomorrow and try again.”

Gus Beteli, BRX Team Principal: “As usual it’s never easy on Dakar as it goes up and down everyday but we managed to prove again the pace of the car and how quick Seb and Fabian are with the Hunter. In the dunes they had a gap on everyone else which was great to see but for opening the road you’re exposed to risks and that today was just missing a way point meaning they had to come around and lost the time there they gained at the start of the day. Still, four days to go and it could be the other way around tomorrow.”

Stage 7 Result
Al Duwadimi - Ha’il, 458kms stage
10th Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter + 11m00s

Overall Standings
2nd Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter +24m47s

 

Source: Bahrain Raid Xtreme

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