Loeb fights back with superb Dakar stage win for BRX

Bahrain Raid Xtreme star climbs standings after winning dramatic battle with rally leader Al Rajhi and Al Attiyah.

Al Salamiya, Saudi Arabia, Sebastien Loeb secured an impressive stage triumph in the Dakar Rally, injecting renewed hope into Bahrain Raid Xtreme amidst another thrilling day in the Saudi terrain.

Teamed with Fabian Lurquin in the BRX Prodrive Hunter, Loeb claimed victory in the challenging 299km Stage 4 from Al Salamiya to Al-Hofuf, engaging in an exhilarating battle with Saud Arabia's dominant rally leader, Yazeed Al Rajhi, and Qatar's five-time champion, Nasser Al Attiyah.

This marked a resilient comeback by the nine-time World Rally Champion, bouncing back from a series of tire punctures and necessary repairs that had previously knocked him out of contention.

Ascending three positions during the stage, Loeb currently stands in sixth place overall, trailing by 23 minutes and 50 seconds from the lead. However, he's now back in contention with eight more demanding desert stages ahead, where fortunes can swiftly shift.

In last year's Dakar Rally, Loeb initiated a streak of six consecutive stage victories for BRX from the same juncture, surpassing Ari Vatanen's prior record of five stage wins in 1989.

As three top-tier drivers battled for the lead today, the stage outcome remained uncertain until the final kilometers. Loeb ultimately secured the win, finishing 1 minute and 8 seconds ahead of Al Rajhi, with Al Attiyah trailing by a mere 14 seconds.

This outcome positioned the Saudi's Toyota in the lead by 4 minutes and 29 seconds over Carlos Sainz's Audi, while Al Attiyah settled in third place, trailing Al Rajhi's Prodrive Hunter by 11 minutes and 3 seconds.

Following his 24th stage victory in the Dakar, Loeb commented, "It was a very good day for us - a clean stage. Yes, we started in the dust from 20th place, but we overtook many cars. We missed a waypoint, so we had to turn around, but that only cost us 30 seconds."

Looking ahead, Loeb aims to recover more lost ground in the shorter 118km Stage 5 from Al-Hofuf to Shubaytah. However, a 527km road section poses another lengthy journey on the day.

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