World Rally-Raid Championship

Mathieu Baumel joins Guerlain Chicherit for Portugal

1 Mins read
Credit: Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

In 2005, Guerlain Chicherit made his Dakar Rally début with Mathieu Baumel as his co-driver. Nearly two decades later, the two will rekindle their relationship, even if for just one round, when they enter the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid. Baumel fills in for Alex Winocq, who is recovering from a back injury sustained during the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

“Fifteen years after our last partnership, Mathieu and I will share the same car at the Rally-Raid Portugal,” wrote Chicherit on Tuesday. “We started racing in the discipline together in 2005 and experienced extraordinary adventures, sometimes going as far as to sleep alone in a small tent in the middle of the African desert… Another era! We are delighted to meet again for this one-shot.”

After finishing forty-ninth at the 2005 Paris–Dakar Rally, Chicherit and Baumel impressed in 2006 with a stage win and ninth-place run. The two continued to work together through 2009, finishing ninth again in their final Dakar together.

Baumel eventually linked up with Nasser Al-Attiyah in 2015, and the duo formed one of the greatest pairings in rally raid history as they won four Dakar Rallies, two World Rally-Raid Championships, four FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, and the 2023 FIA World Bajas Cup. They also claimed five Middle Eastern Rally Championships and the 2015 World Rally Championship-2.

However, things soured at the 2024 Dakar in January when Baumel and Al-Attiyah, running their first W2RC race in a Prodrive Hunter, struggled with reliability before dropping out halfway. The two split a month later and Édouard Boulanger became Al-Attiyah’s new co-driver starting with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, where they ultimately won. Baumel did not appear at Abu Dhabi as a result.

During Stage #4 of the ADDC, a hard landing caused Winocq to hurt his back. He was airlifted to hospital for treatment while Chicherit completed the stage solo before withdrawing from the rally. A near-identical fate also befell his Overdrive Racing team-mate Guillaume de Mévius who suffered a compressed vertebra on impact in the stage prior.

Despite the Abu Dhabi retirement, Chicherit is currently third in the W2RC standings after finishing runner-up at the Dakar Rally. 2024 is his first season racing a Toyota Hilux for Overdrive.

The BP Ultimate Rally-Raid in Portugal begins 3 April and runs through 7 April.

Avatar photo
3600 posts

About author
Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
Related posts
World Rally-Raid Championship

Red-Lined set to debut REVO+ GT-R

2 Mins read
Red-Lined Motorsport’s REVO+ GT-R, a T1+ that uses a Nissan GT-R engine (much like Dacia’s Dakar Rally car), will run the South African Rally-Raid Championship with Chris Visser and Dave Klaassen.
DakarWorld Rally-Raid Championship

Fantic offering Dakar, amateur factory-level rally packages

1 Mins read
Fantic will let XEF 450 Rally owners enter amateur rallies as part of the Fantic Rally Xperience, or tackle the 2025 Dakar Rally with factory support and a shot at joining their works team in 2026.
Formula Renault EurocupWorld Rally-Raid Championship

GRS Team opens cross-country rally arm

1 Mins read
Spanish F4 and Eurocup outfit Global Racing Service will compete in the 2024 Spanish Cross-Country Rally Championship.