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Dakar 2024: Loeb takes brilliant fourth Dakar stage win in 2024

Dakar 2024: Loeb takes brilliant fourth Dakar stage win in 2024

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Over the 417 kilometre stage from Ha’il to AlUla, Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin took their fourth Dakar 2024 stage victory as once more they pushed every metre of the way to gain time on the overall lead of the rally. Their brilliant performance has pushed them to just 20 minutes and 33 seconds back from the leader with still a very tough 1,026 kilometres remaining until the finish on Friday.
The speed of their Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter worked to their advantage today as they stuck to their plan of pushing hard to take time out of the rally leader. Each waypoint worked to the advantage and their victory was all the more impressive as they unfortunately had two punctures along the route, meaning that not only did they have to stop twice to change the tyres, but then drive conservatively over the remaining 150 kilometres so as not have another considering they are only allowed to carry two spare tyres.
The stage started over particularly bumpy tracks that threw the car about, but it gave them the chance to use the strength of the Hunter to push hard and catch other cars that had started three and then six minutes earlier. Not far after saw the return of the clumps of camel grass mid stage and one bush had a rock hidden in it leaving the front tyre to bear the brunt of the hit to then blow out.
Navigation was spot on for the duo as they returned back towards AlUla skirting past the stunning ancient rocks that are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but as always, Loeb said he wished he could go back to see them another day as he was, “..a bit busy driving.” Lurquin was happy to hit each target on the road book as he remained calm through the sandy valleys.
With three stages remaining and still an enormous distance to cover, their tactics are to keep pushing all the way over the tail end of the world’s biggest motorsport event. Dakar always has a sting in the tail and that looks set to be the penultimate stage towards Yanbu on Thursday with rocks that have caught out many a car and tyres over previous editions of the rally in Saudi Arabia.

Sébastien Loeb - BRX: “That was another good stage victory today, number four this year, so that’s good even though we had two punctures in the middle of the stage that probably lost us five minutes by the time you find a place to stop, change tyres and then get all strapped in again. We obviously had to be careful after that to not get another puncture. However, we still took some time out of Carlos’ lead so that’s going in the right direction. We also saw Matthew Serradori on the last road section in trouble so we towed him into the bivouac: It is the Dakar spirit. The goal over these next days is to keep the pressure on as there are many kilometres remaining. We will push and continue to do as we’ve done so far with the pace we have in the car.”

Gus Beteli, BRX Team Principal: “That was another good day! Stage win number four so Seb and Fabian have got great momentum as they continue to get closer to Carlos leading this rally and we enjoy putting the pressure on. We’ve got three days to go, they’re in a great frame of mind to get this done by attacking all they can over the rocks, the tracks and the way points to finish this rally.”

Stage 9 Result
Ha’il - AlUla, 417kms stage
1st Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter

Overall Standings
2nd Loeb/Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter +20m33s

 

Source: Bahrain Raid Xtreme

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