The Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX) team has completed an extensive test in the UAE for the forthcoming Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in less than 20 days’ time with all three drivers in the team completing long days and hard kilometres over the dunes and rocky tracks in Dubai. Nani Roma/Alex Haro, Sebastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin and Orlando Terranova/Dani Oliveras all drove the Prodrive Hunter T1+ in extreme temperatures testing suspension, engine settings and the new Prodrive EcoPower fuel.
“We set them particularly challenging routes through the desert, to test the cars and the crews,” said BRX team principal, Gus Beteli. “2021 was our Dakar debut and we have learnt a great deal from that about what it takes to win the most arduous motor race in the world. Having a strong, reliable and fast car is clearly important, but equally so is navigation. The driver and co-driver have to work as a team, and in-car communication is key. The test gave them plenty of time to work on these skills.”
The new T1+ cars are heavier than the T1 cars but with the same power and that means a slight difference in feeling for the drivers and they’ve had to adjust their driving accordingly, but this was pinpointed and assimilated during the test. Aside from driving to the new FIA speed limit of 170kph the crews drove over camel grass, very soft sand, rocks and broken dunes to push the car to the limit plus as many possible scenarios that appear on the world’s hardest and longest motorsport event that will cover 8,375 kms.
Throughout the test the cars have been running on the Prodrive EcoPower fuel that has been specifically developed for the Hunter. The sustainable fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to petrol, as it is made from generation 2 biofuel manufactured from agricultural waste and efuels created from carbon capture while it also conforms to the latest FIA regulations.
Nani Roma said: “It was our target to spend a great deal of good time in the car and we did that on this very productive test. With a T1 + car with the larger wheels I can now maintain our speed in places where I never could before; The main thing is that the car is strong, and for me that is the main point following this test as together with Alex we spent long hours in the car doing many different tasks and that’s built up an even greater team spirit in the car and with the BRX team to lead us towards Saudi Arabia and the Dakar. These are exciting times.”
Sebastien Loeb said: “There’s a bit of everything we did in the test as we needed the kilometres to prepare for the Dakar. Our ambition is to obviously do as well as possible on the rally but the Dakar is always so tricky and you need to put everything together; the driving, the navigation, to have a strong car and to avoid the mistakes with the driving but our absolute goal would be to win Dakar and following this test we can genuinely start to think about that.”
Orlando Terranova said: “The new car is incredible as it is very easy to drive and you feel confident for the speed and with the safety. It’s really such a superb job from the team to build this car so as a squad if we can make the first place that would be an incredible result. To use this new fuel to keep the emissions down and to improve the planet step by step is truly amazing, but it’s the performance too and to have these two together is so important and something I’m proud of.”
Photo credit: Jarryd Smith