Electrical issue halts Chicherit charge as Prodrive Hunters show their pace in Sonora Rally
28th April, 2023: With the World Rally-Raid Championship lead set to change hands, Bahrain Raid Xtreme were denied a comeback stage victory in Mexico as Nasser Al Attiyah extended his lead in the Sonora Rally.
Following Sebastien Loeb’s withdrawal 24 hours earlier in his BRX Prodrive Hunter, fellow Frenchmen Guerlain Chicherit and Alex Winocq were heading for an impressive win on the rally’s penultimate stage before being halted by an electrical problem.
There was no stopping Marcos Baumgart and Kleber Cincea in another of the Prodrive Hunters, however, as the WRRC debutants recorded an impressive third fastest time on the day to take fifth place overall, despite a three-minute time penalty.
Making it a good all-round day for the BRX Brazillian partner team, Cristian Baumgart and Alberto Andreotti took their Prodrive Hunter to eighth place on the day and eighth overall.
Needing only to finish the rally to replace Loeb as the championship leader, Al Attiyah’s convincing victory on the stage from Yazeed Al Rajhi in another Toyota extended his outright lead over the Saudi driver to 7 mins 22 secs.
As the BRX technicians repaired his Prodrive Hunter to ensure he will resume on the final 139km stage from Peñasco to San Luis, Chicherit said: “Like every stage this week I was going very well.
“The speed was good today as before it was too soft on the rear, so we’ve gone back to the settings we had in Morocco last year when I was really happy and I got my confidence right away.
“We were driving at the right speed without going mad to catch Nasser but we had this alternator problem appear. We switched off everything to try to save it but it stopped after a while; a real shame but we’ll be back again to fight once more.”
Marcos Baumgart said: “We’re getting closer to the car’s limit. We’re still a little bit back of what it will ultimately do, but we’re very happy with this stage and third place behind a world champion.”