Dakar 2023: Final stage - Loeb leads world championship following record run on Dakar

Dakar 2023: Final stage - Loeb leads world championship following record run on Dakar

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Bahrain Raid Xtreme’s Sébastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin have taken second overall on Dakar 2023 following over two weeks and 5,000 kilometres of relentless, punishing stages across some of the world’s most hostile terrain. Loeb/Lurquin set a new Dakar record of consecutive stage wins yesterday on their way to taking 50% of the stages this year, a feat that has helped them now lead the World Rally Raid Championship after the first round of five.

Battling through some of the worst mud seen on a Dakar stage for years following heavy rain in the region, the BRX Hunter held it’s own to be safely inside the Top 10 for Loeb today on the final test but it was the pace of the sister GCK Motorsport Hunter of Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq that impressed today as they took their second stage win this year. That means the Prodrive Hunter has taken nine wins from 14 stages in 2023 to prove it is arguably one of the most versatile and drivable cars on the world stage right now.

Set backs with punctures over a particularly rocky section on stage two curtailed Loeb/Lurquin Hunter dropping them to 31st overall, but they never gave up and fought through to another podium spot after last year’s similar result. Likewise today’s winning pace of Chicherit/Winocq today elevated them into 10th place overall following similar set backs last week and also kept them in third place in the World Rally Raid Championship.

For everyone at Bahrain Raid Xtreme and Prodrive, we are proud to have taken such results on the world’s toughest motorsport event with sustainable fuel and 80% less CO2 emissions but our eyes are still on the top step. Our congratulations go to Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel for winning the rally, but all at BRX are already looking forward to the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge for the next battle.

Sébastien Loeb: “Thank you to everybody in the BRX team for this result. I’m really proud for the job on the car that was really strong. We had hardly any problems with the car itself, just the punctures in the first week that were really bad luck as we were trying to take it easy but those flats lost us more than two hours so to finish second here today is very good considering where we were. We had a very good second part of the rally; we enjoyed it; we had fun in the car as it was so good so it was just brilliant as we could still fight for something and come all the way back to second place. We’ve taken good points for the Championship, taken a new Dakar record with six consecutive stage wins so I’m still happy. For sure I would prefer to win because now it is my third second place but not everybody finishes on this kind of rally...
Our pace in the dunes was almost surprising to myself to win all the stages in the Empty Quarter even when being first on the road so that’s such a strong point for the future for Fabian, me and the team. I’ve improved my driving since Abu Dhabi (last year) so with that rally up next, hopefully we can be on a good rhythm again.”

Guerlain Chicherit : “It was amazing to really be here at the finish because some stages I was not sure I was able to get the car back each night because I was so sick so I’m happy to see this finish line. Today I knew it was my chance because there were no dunes so we could push really hard to at least win the last one and we made it so it’s amazing. We’re really happy.”

David Richards - BRX Team Director : “That was an incredible performance by the team, tinged with a little bit of disappointment at the beginning but if you look overall the team feels very proud of itself as all drivers and crews pulled their weight pulling back from those early set backs. What we have done is show just how quick and reliable this car is so to leave here leading the World Rally Raid Championship is a testament to everybody involved."

Gus Beteli, Team Principal: “It was a difficult start to the rally but we are very proud of what we have done since then winning nine stages and six in a row with Seb is a huge testament to everyone and all the work they’ve done here on the rally and back at base. Looking forward we have a World Rally Raid Championship to concentrate on and our return next year with our eyes solely on one goal”

Stage 14. Al-Hofuf to Dammam. 136kms.
Stage Results:
1st. S. Loeb / F. Lurquin – Prodrive Hunter
8th. G. Chicherit / A. Winocq – Prodrive Hunter

Overall Results:
2nd. S. Loeb / F. Lurquin – Prodrive Hunter
10th. G. Chicherit / A. Winocq – Prodrive Hunter

Source Bahrain Raid Xtreme / Prodrive

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