Loeb relishes Dakar Rally rest day with Sainz still in his sights

Bahrain Raid Xtreme on the rise after big win in the Empty Quarter

By Team KT

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Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin - on the rise in the Dakar Rally in their Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter. - Supplied photo
Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin - on the rise in the Dakar Rally in their Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter. - Supplied photo

Published: Sat 13 Jan 2024, 12:58 PM

Sebastien Loeb was able to enjoy the rest day in the Dakar Rally today after serving a clear reminder that Bahrain Raid Xtreme are still firmly in the hunt for victory.

As the BRX technicians refreshed Loeb’s Prodrive Hunter with planned parts changes in Riyadh, the nine-time World Rally Champion needed no reminding that he scored a record-breaking six successive stage wins in Saudi Arabia last year.

With the same number of stages remaining up to the finish in Yanbu on Friday, Loeb and co-driver Fabian Lurquin have the Audi of rally leader Carlos in their sights in the opening round of this year’s World Rally-Raid Championship.

Loeb’s second success in the rally’s first week was hugely impressive, as it came on the 547-km

48-hour Chrono stage over the biggest dunes in the world across the spectacular Empty Quarter.

With all mobile phones sealed in a bag and placed in their cars at the start of the two-day stage, the drivers could only speak to their chief engineer on a satellite phone before settling down for the night, given just basic camping equipment and food.

The rally restarts tomorrow morning with a 483km stage to Al Duwadimi, with Sainz holding a 20 mins 21 secs lead over Audi team-mate Mattias Ekström who is nine minutes ahead of Loeb.

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