The Prodrive-run Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX) team will skip next month’s Baja Hail in favor of more intensive testing in the United Arab Emirates for its three-crew Dakar 2022 team.
It confirmed a three-car team for January’s Saudi Arabian marathon on Monday. Existing drivers Sébastien Loeb and Nani Rome will be joined by Orlando Terranova, who made his debut with the team at Baja Aragon in Spain in July. All three will drive latest-specification Prodrive Hunter T1+ cars.
Fabian Lurquin will co-drive Loeb while Alex Haro works with Roma and Dani Oliveras navigates Terranova.
With Hail International Rally (December 6-11) not running the same-style navigation as Dakar, Prodrive will take the opportunity for long-run testing in the UAE with plenty of navigational complications to sharpen the co-drivers’ instincts ahead of January.
The Dubai test will be Terranova’s first time in the new car. Loeb and Roma have already sampled the 2022-trim Hunter in Wales and Dubai. The T1+ car offers increased suspension travel (280mm to 350mm), bigger wheels and tires and a wider track with body width spreading from 200 to 230cm.
Loeb said: “I have a really good feeling in the new car. We have tested in all the different conditions we expect to see on the Dakar. With the new larger tires, we were able to maintain our speed through the rough and rocky sections with much less risk of punctures.
“Fabian and I have several more days’ testing soon where we will spend a lot of time focussing on navigation, as this will once again be very important in Saudi.”
Roma admitted the new specification car offered a double-edged sword: “I have completed nearly 2000km (1242 miles) in the new T1+ in Wales and in Dubai.
“With the new larger tires, the car is able to cross terrain that the previous T1 would find difficult. However, it is larger and heavier with the same engine, so while we will be faster in some areas, we could be slower in others.”
Prodrive will be running the Hunter on sustainable fuel developed specifically for the car and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared with petrol.
Prodrive EcoPower, which conforms to FIA regulations, is made from generation two biofuel manufactured from agricultural waste and efuels created from carbon capture.