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LOEB PUTS BAHRAIN RAID XTREME IN CONTENTION IN MOROCCO RALLY

French star takes Bahrain Raid Xtreme into heat of battle as Al-Attiyah edges closer to world title

Sebastien Loeb took Bahrain Raid Xtreme into the heat of the battle in the Rallye du Maroc today as Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah moved closer to retaining his driver’s title in the World Rally-Raid Championship

FB IMG 1697316549135 LOEB PUTS BAHRAIN RAID XTREME IN CONTENTION IN MOROCCO RALLY

Loeb, who is driving his BRX Prodrive Hunter competitively for the first time in six months, recorded a third-place finish on the rally’s 311-km opening stage between Agadir and Zagora, which was won by Al Attiyah

Nine-time World Rally champion Loeb and Fabian Lurquin are back together again after the Belgian co-driver broke his shoulder in April’s Sonora Rally in Mexico, and the duo are now well poised to challenge over the next four days

Despite starting in 38th place following the Prologue, victory on the day in his Toyota ensured Al Attiyah again extended his championship advantage over Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al Rajhi, who recorded the second fastest time on the stage

Orly Terranova, runner up in Morocco 12 months ago, was sixth quickest in his BRX Prodrive Hunter alongside new Argentine co-driver, Bernardo Graue

Loeb had been far from happy with his eventual 12th place finish on the previous day’s Prologue, but the Frenchman had needed the 19km opener to reacquaint himself with the Hunter, and the special demands of desert driving

He made a flying start today, was fastest to the 43km and 105km points, and is clearly happy to be back behind the wheel of the BRX Prodrive Hunter

Going into tomorrow’s second of five desert stages just 3 min 38 secs off the lead, and within 53 secs of second place, the French star will be hoping to add to his W2RC victory in the Hunter in Andalucia last October

The opening stage, the longest of the rally, included almost 400km of road passage. The timed section featured rocky tracks and dirt trails, and a 10km run through the Erg Chigaga dunes, where soft sand, stifling heat and navigational challenges combined to provide a stern test for cars and competitors

IMG 20231014 WA0107 LOEB PUTS BAHRAIN RAID XTREME IN CONTENTION IN MOROCCO RALLY

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