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Sébastien Loeb rounded off the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia with another impressive stage victory for Bahrain Raid Xtreme today to secure third place in the event, as Carlos Sainz confirmed his fourth outright win.

Loeb and Fabian Lurquin in the BRX Prodrive Hunter recorded their fifth stage success of the rally on the final 175km time trial, which started and finished in Yanbu, and they did it with more than five minutes to spare from Guillaume de Mevius in a Toyota Hilux.

The BRX duo just fell short in their attempt to overhaul the Belgian to take what would have been a third successive overall runner up finish on the world’s toughest rally, although their final day display underlined what might have been but for some earlier misfortunes.

The result means that Prodrive ended the 46th edition of the Dakar as the most successful manufacturer, with six victories overall for the Hunter, which had given Loeb the same number of stage wins in succession last year to set a record.

The nine-time World Rally Champion had given BRX a strong chance of a first overall Dakar triumph before a combination of navigational and mechanical issues, and punctures, took their toll over the two-week event covering almost 8,000 kilometres.

As Sainz won with an eventual cushion of over 1 hr 20 mins in his Audi, Loeb finished the rally in style today, with more stage wins than any other driver, underlining the way that Bahrain Raid Xtreme has become a major force in the rally-raid world.

He said at the end of the stage: “Today we had to push because we knew that (Guerlain) Chicherit was not far behind. We needed to secure our podium and we started fast. We had some dust (thrown up by the cars ahead) and had some cars to overtake.

“We were a bit lucky today because we had no punctures, and didn’t lose so much time by overtaking. So at the end, we had the best time, last stage. No problem, everything was perfect today.

“Dakar is tough. It’s not like any other rally. It’s 15 days and you need to put everything together. Carlos didn’t win a stage, but he won the rally because he was consistent, doing a good job every day.”

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