Loeb fights back with superb Dakar stage win for BRX
Sebastien Loeb recorded a brilliant stage victory in the Dakar Rally today to revive the fortunes of Bahrain Raid Xtreme on another dramatic day in Saudi Arabia.
Partnered by Fabian Lurquin in the BRX Prodrive Hunter, Loeb won the 299km Stage 4 from Al Salamiya to Al-Hofuf following a breathtaking battle with Saud Arabia’s outright rally leader, Yazeed Al Rajhji, and Qatar’s five-time champion, Nasser Al Attiyah.
It was a typically bold recovery by the nine-time World Rally Champion after a succession of punctures and enforced repair work had dropped him from contention on the previous stage.
Climbing three places on the day, Loeb is in sixth position overall, still 23mins 50 secs off the lead, but back in the hunt with eight more tough desert changes remaining in a rally where fortunes can swing dramatically.
It was at the same point in last year’s Dakar that Loeb took the first of six successive stage wins for BRX to ultimately eclipse the previous best of five achieved by Ari Vatanen in 1989.
As three of the world’s top drivers fought for the lead today, the stage result was in doubt up to the final kilometres, Loeb eventually edging out Al Rajhi by 1 min 8 secs, with Al Attiyah just 14 seconds further away.
The result left the Saudi’s Toyota leading by 4 min 29 secs from the Audi of Carlos Sainz, with Al Attiyah in third, 11 mins 3 secs from Al Rajhi in his Prodrive Hunter.
After clinching his 24th stage win on theDakar, Loeb said: “It was a very good day for us – a clean stage. Yes we started in the dust from 20th, but we overtook many cars. We missed a waypoint so we had to turn around, but that was only for 30 seconds.”
He will now look to make up more of the earlier lost ground in tomorrow’s much shorter 118km Stage 5 fromAl-Hofuf to Shubaytah, although a road section of 527 km means another long journey on the day.
Last Updated on 2 months by Middle East News 247