Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Sebastien Loeb has taken second place on stage two of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge after a trouble-free run through the desert sand and dunes in temperatures of nearly 40 degrees.
The result keeps him in 6th in the T1 class after a disappointing first stage, which saw him lose nearly two and half hours after a major impact damaged the Hunter’s drivetrain. forcing him to run in front wheel drive for nearly half the stage.
With his and the Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX) team’s focus on winning the inaugural 2022 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship, it was important to get valuable points for this stage, but also to focus on the final standings at the end of the event, the second round of the series.
Loeb’s main rival in the championship, Nasser Al Attiyah, won the stage, but following his retirement on stage one, he is now 18 hours behind and out of contention.
Loeb said, “It was really tough today. It was a very difficult stage with really soft sand and tricky dunes making it very slow. However, the car was really good and fast and it ran well in the hot temperatures. We have secured four points for the championship and that is the important thing. Now we focus on tomorrow.”
Gus Beteli, the BRX Team Principal, said, “The team did a great job to rebuild Seb’s car last night after the issues on the first stage. It was 39 degrees here, by far the hottest temperatures we have ever run this car and it came through fine even with the low speeds.”
“Nasser’s stage win means he has opened up a two point gap in the championship. However, our aim is to move up the overall event leader board so we secure more points at the end.”
In the World Rally-Raid Championship, the top five stage finishers overall score points: five for first through to one for fifth. There are then points at the end too for overall placings. There are three stages and 1,200 km of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge left.