Dramatic pictures as Banbury's Prodrive team takes to the desert in the Dakar Rally

Prodrive's team took to the vast expanses of the desert yester(Monday) in another intense day of action in the Dakar Rally.

Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 2:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 2:52 pm
A huge challenge for the drivers in the Dakar Rally. Prodrive is represented for the first time

The move into the desert was the second day of the Dakar Rally 2021. Nani Roma and Sebastien Loeb had the chance to put the BRX Hunter to the test across vast stretches of open desert and rolling sand dunes for large portions of the stage.

The two drivers set out from Bisha, with 685km of driving (228km road and 457km special stage) to contest, as they raced towards Wadi Ad-Dawasir.

French BRX driver, Sebastien Loeb, had redemption on his mind after a difficult first stage of the rally. Showing all his experience Loeb, in the #305 Hunter, gave a snapshot of why he is a nine-time World Rally Champion. He pushed through the pack, showing the Hunter’s underlying pace to finish in 6th position and complete the day’s driving in 04:20:07, +16:53 off the leader. Loeb’s performance puts him in 7th overall 36:40 behind the leader.

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Incredible scenes from the desert in Saudi Arabia as the Prodrive team puts up a brilliant performance

Loeb said: “It was a much better day today. On the driving side, I did a good stage; I was pushing from the start to the end with no punctures or time stuck in the dunes.

"On the navigation side we made a few mistakes but it was incredibly tricky towards the end to see the tracks and find the way. We may have lost a little bit of time, but otherwise we did well, and we are where we need to be.”

After a strong showing on stage one, Nani Roma started stage two in 6th position in the #311 Hunter. A fan of the expansive sandy conditions, Roma picked up where he left off and was chasing a spot in the top ten for the day’s stage.

However, after some navigational challenges, Roma finishing stage two in 04:38:32 and placing him 16th for the day, putting him 10th overall and with a +41:55 gap from the rally leader after two stages.

Another shot from yesterday's (Monday) action in the desert during the Dakar Rally

Roma said: “It was a good but challenging stage. Some tricky conditions and terrain, but it was good to test the Hunter and we are happy with how the car performed. We lost some time because of navigation issues but that is part of cross country driving like this.

"It’s not all about speed - navigation is key. Overall, it is a positive day though, the time may not show that but I feel positive with what we have learnt today.”

Richard Thompson, Prodrive Chief Engineer, said: “The stage today was in excess of anything we have run in tests so to see the way both cars cleared the stage with no mechanical issues is hugely positive.

"What was really encouraging was to see Seb absolutely flying at certain points of the stage, showing that the underlying pace and reliability is there. We need to build on that and push to win a stage.”

A scene from day two of the Dakar Rally with Prodrive taking up the challenge for the first time