ADDC 2023: BRX and Loeb extend World Championship lead in Abu Dhabi
The Bahrain Raid Xtreme drivers of Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin have extend their World Rally Raid Championship lead from two to 16 points after a never give up drive through the sands of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge today. Covering the final 206 kilometres under a searingly hot sun, the Prodrive Hunter ran faultlessly to be the fastest title contender on the stage after 2,170kms of varied, dusty and challenging terrain.
Set amongst similar dunes to the most southerly part of last month’s Dakar Rally, the temperatures have been stifling over the past days with many crews discovering the event really does live up to its name as the hardest desert rally in the world. Only an errant stone that damaged a water pipe on the first day was the biggest set back for Loeb and Lurquin, a part that’s never been damaged in tens of thousands of kilometres of running over the past three years, but the resolve and grit of the BRX team came to the fore as they built back up to the extended Championship lead tonight.
Next up for Bahrain Raid Xtreme is the Sonora Rally in Mexico on April 23, a new addition for many of the competitors in the World Rally Raid Championship, but a very established event for many desert racers in the USA and followers of the famous BAJA 1000 that takes place a little further to the west of the country.
Sébastien Loeb: “We’re at the end of the rally and we finally finished into Abu Dhabi and we’ve taken some very good points for the championship and that’s the best we could expect when we got here in coming away with the lead intact. Today we’ve increased our lead form two to 16 points so I think we have to be happy after the problems we had early on in the event. Thank you to everybody in the team to turn this around; there was some very hard work and long hours put in for these valuable points both on the rally and back at Prodrive. Now the focus moves to the Sonora Rally in April.”
Gus Beteli, Team Principal: “A happy end after a very difficult start to this rally here in Abu Dhabi. The first day was not good for us with the smallest of problems stopping Seb’s car, but were it not for that we would be further ahead in the championship. What was great was seeing the drive and endurance of the team to dig deep deep, work hard and get the lead we have now. Of course we’re disappointed to not win the rally as that’s what we come here for, but we’re very proud and happy for the extra 14 points. Now it’s Mexico: in our heads that starts tonight with planning and logistics, but it’ll be something interesting to see for the first time.”
Source: Bahrain Raid Xtreme / Prodrive