X Rally Team‘s swanky new ride will race in international competition for the first time in two weeks. On Tuesday, the Brazilian outfit announced they will début their Prodrive Hunter at the Sonora Rally in Mexico on 23–28 April, with brothers Cristian and Marcos Baumgart as the drivers of two cars. Team CEO Beco Andreotti will serve as Cristian’s co-driver, while Kleber Cinea is Marcos’.
“It’s the start of a new chapter for X Rally Team,” said Cristian Baumgart. “We wanted to take this step forward and we are taking it step by step. It will be a test of adapting to the car and the terrain, so everything will be new for us.”
The team purchased two Hunters in February while also setting up a shop in Évora, Portugal; one of the Hunters was driven by Sébastien Loeb to seven stage victories at the Dakar Rally the month prior. X Rally Team previously used the NWM Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux Overdrive T1, winning five Sertões Rally Championships in the process.
The Baumgarts will also race the Hunters in the Sertões Rally. Cristian is a four-time winner while Marcos has one and finished runner-up in 2022.
“It’s a different terrain than what we’re used to: desert, dunes, lots of sand,” Marcos commented. “The last time we competed in such a place was the 2019 Dakar, on a UTV. Together with that, we will debut the new cars. There is a lot to understand and analyze and being in this race goes precisely towards these objectives.”
Much like with World Rally-Raid Championship outfits Bahrain Raid Xtreme and GCK Motorsport, Prodrive will provide factory assistance at Sonora for X Rally Team. The team recently visited Prodrive’s headquarters in Banbury, England, to learn about the car’s development, which Cincea called “new” but “essential, something I’ve never seen before.”
Loeb is the current T1 points leader for BRX while Guerlain Chicherit, owner of GCK, scored two stage wins at Dakar and won the 2022 Rallye du Maroc.
“The partnership has already proved to be very positive for us, because we are having a type of support that we have not had before,” offered Andreotti. “This exchange is very beneficial and has been a huge opportunity for all of us. Prodrive welcomed us with open arms and the work together has been really nice.”