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Dakar 2024: Loeb and Lurquin’s never give up attitude keeps Dakar podium place

Dakar 2024: Loeb and Lurquin’s never give up attitude keeps Dakar podium place

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The penultimate stage of the Dakar Rally for 2024 lived up to its reputation today as a test that always has huge challenges in store and for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team of Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin their element of endurance was pushed right to the limit. Their never give up attitude came to the fore as one of the hardest Dakars in recent times continued to provoke misfortune, but digging deep they recovered to the stage finish to still hold a potential podium position on the world’s toughest motorsport event.

Cresting a rocky pass brow early on in the 420 kilometre test and in first or second gear, Loeb clipped a large rock that unfortunately broke the strongest part of the suspension meaning the car had to stop. An hour later a sister Prodrive Hunter from the Yunxiang Team passed them but the goodwill of Yungang Zi to donate the parts he was carrying for himself to Loeb and Lurquin was a turning point. Swiftly repaired, the car was back in the game for the remaining kilometres but with the rocky sting in the tail that caused havoc for so many last time that area was used, trepidation was the next atmosphere in the car.

Loeb drove as cautiously as possible using all of his 30 years of driving skill but even that was thwarted by the rocks as the punctures came, once with two at the same time. When he had no more spares remaining he was forced to drive a punctured tyre down to the rim and then refit an already punctured tyre back on the car twice in order to get to the finish and keep that podium place within reach. They did just that today through team spirit and determination, something that the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team fully appreciated once they returned to the bivouac tonight. As another indication of how tough it was in the stage there were other top running cars finishing on three wheels or even retiring cruelly from the rally so close to the finish.

The final stage of the Dakar for 2024 takes place very early tomorrow morning around the stunning back drop of Yanbu for the finish on the shores of the Red Sea and its crystal blue waters. With 174 kilometres remaining, the Bahrain Raid Xtreme crew will continue to push as hard as always to gain any possible advantage and retain their podium position.

Sébastien Loeb - BRX: “Yes it was a difficult stage for us to say the least! We lost more than one hour early on after hitting a big rock and we thought it was completely finished for us (suspension arm broken) but then we were lucky as Yungang Zi in the YunXiang Hunter had the spare parts that we needed. So we took the parts, repaired and started again. Then, even though we were driving slowly we had so many punctures - a really hard day for the tyres today. We got to the finish of the stage with three flat tyres on the car, but we are here and still on the podium. We wanted to get to the finish and not stop. I’m glad we did.”

Gus Beteli, BRX Team Principal: “That was a very hard day indeed. It was expected to be hard after it was announced that it would be the same as stage two from last year when we had all the punctures, and it was the case today again. Hitting a big rock broke the suspension early on for Seb and Fabian meaning they had to wait for parts before continuing back up to speed but we still have a podium position and we have one more day to see what we can get. There’s still over 170kms to go tomorrow and judging by today, anything can still happen.”

Stage 11 Result
AlUla - Yanbu, 420 kms stage
63rd Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter +1h27m

Overall Standings
3rd Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter +1h 35m

 

Source: Bahrain Raid Xtreme

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