World Rally-Raid Championship

2022 Andalucia Rally: Loeb leads T1 early in prologue

2 Mins read
Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Sébastien Loeb has some work to do if he wants to take home a World Rally-Raid Championship, but things are off to a good start for him as he led the T1 category in the prologue to the Andalucía Rally.

Loeb recorded a time of seven minutes and fifty-two seconds, seventeen seconds quicker than Yazeed Al-Rajhi and thirty-one over Rallye du Maroc overall winner Guerlain Chicherit. Nasser Al-Attiyah, who entered the round with a twenty-two-point lead on Loeb, suffered a one-minute time penalty for speeding and was classified twenty-first at 8:57.

“It was the stage where we could do a recce, so for me, it was a bit like WRC style and I could really push with the car right from the start,” said Loeb. “We made a big attack that ultimately was perfect, no mistakes at all so it was nice; a great opener. However, it’s only the initial kilometres with the long stages coming tomorrow and over the next days.”

While João Dias is not competing for the W2RC T3 title, he was more than willing to run interference in his home race as his 8:25 led Guillaume de Mevius by three seconds. Points leader Francisco López Contardo was fourth at 8:33, with non-championship driver Pedro Carvalho ahead of him with 8:30.

Rokas Baciuška, who led T4 by just one point entering Andalucía, drew first blood by topping the category at 8:29. Marek Goczał, second in the standings, was fourth (8:38) while Austin Jones, three back of Baciuška, trailed at 8:47.

With Rallye du Maroc winner Skyler Howes running the Sonora Rally instead, Sam Sunderland seized the chance to establish a foothold in RallyGP by beating Kevin Benavides‘ 1:05:28 to 1:05:52. Mason Klein, who locked up the Rally2 title in Morocco, was third in his class behind non-W2RC rider Toni Mulec (1:07:20) and Bradley Cox (1:07:28) at 1:08:56. Jeremy Miroir topped Rally3 at 1:06:16 ahead of Rajendra Revallar Eshwarappa (1:14:44) while Morocco winner Amine Echiguer was third with 1:22:16.

In Quad, championship leader Alexandre Giroud was second at 1:13:44 behind Kamil Wisniewski‘s 1:12:24, though the latter is too far back in the points in fifth. Juraj Varga, the only other rider with a shot at the title, finished third with 1:15:04.

Stéphane Peterhansel led the four Open entries in his Yamaha SSV, scoring an eight-minute, eighteen-second time. Mitch Guthrie, fresh off winning the inaugural California 300, was second and thirteen seconds back.

Stage #1A winners

T1201Sébastien LoebBahain Raid Xtreme7:52
T2214José GameiroMracing Portugal11:34
T3317João DiasSantag Racing8:25
T4402Rokas BaciuškaSouth Racing Can-Am8:29
RallyGP3Sam SunderlandGasGas Factory Racing1:05:28
Rally2110Toni MulecTS Racing1:07:20
Rally3151Jeremy MiroirDB Motors1:06:16
Quad171Kamil WisniewskiORLEN Team1:12:24
Open700Stéphane PeterhanselX-Raid Yamaha Racing Rally Team8:18
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