Already at the start of the Dakar seven times in his career, Sébastien Loeb will participate again in 2025, this time with a Dacia. The Renault group brand will participate in its first Dakar in two years. Spain's Cristina Gutierrez will also drive a Dacia. The Frenchman, nine-time WRC world rally champion, will test a prototype of the brand from the end of 2024 at the Rallye du Maroc.
The model will be prepared by the ProDrive team, already partner of Sébastien Loeb on the World Rally-Raid Championship, of which the Dakar was this year the first round. The 49-year-old Alsatian, second in the event in 2023, will be accompanied by his co-driver Fabian Lurquin.
Read alsoSébastien Loeb at the start of the Dakar 2022: "I changed a lot of things to succeed this time"
Dacia will give itself the necessary means on the race and "does not want to finish fifth or sixth," said Dacia boss Denis Le Vot. The Dakar will also be "the priority" of Sébastien Loeb, said the driver, who has also joined the World Rallycross Championship (World RX). With Dacia, "the plan is to make the rally-raid championship in 2025-2026, it's important to progress," said the Alsatian champion.
The second car of the Dacia team will therefore be entrusted to Cristina Gutiérrez, 31 years old. The young but experienced Spanish driver knows Loeb well, with whom she won the Extreme E electric 2022x4 competition at the end of 4. "He's my mentor, he's a legend," said Cristina Gutiérrez. "And we get along very well, it's important to develop the car."
" READ ALSO Rally: we played the co-driver of Sébastien Loeb on a road of Savoie
The two prototypes, whose model is due to be unveiled in early 2024, will run on synthetic fuel, produced by combining hydrogen with carbon dioxide. Dacia has partnered for this fuel with the oil giant Saudi Aramco, a partner of Renault, and a public company in the country that has been hosting the Dakar since 2020.