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Dakar Dakar

Dacia to enter Dakar Rally in 2025 with Loeb, Gutierrez

Dacia will enter the Dakar Rally from 2025 with World Rally legend Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez as its two factory drivers.

Sebastien Loeb, Team X44, and Cristina Gutierrez, Team X44, on the podium

The Romanian manufacturer announced plans to take part in the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship including the Dakar Rally in an online presentation on Monday, confirming rumours that the Renault Group had been working on returning to the world’s toughest cross-country rally.

Renault scored its one and only victory in Dakar in the third edition of the event back in 1982, when the event was held across Europe and Africa.

No information was provided as to what vehicle will form the base of Dacia’s Dakar challenger, which will take on the likes of Toyota, Audi, Mini and Prodrive, among other manufacturers in the flagship cars category.

However, Dacia did mention that it plans to use the Dakar Rally as a testbed and will compete using sustainable fuel provided by Saudi oil giant Aramco.

Loeb and Gutierrez, who compete as team-mates for Lewis Hamilton’s X44 squad in Extreme E, were announced as the two drivers.

Nine-time WRC champion Loeb will leave the current Prodrive-run Bahrain Raid Xtreme operation to join Dacia, as he continues his pursuit of a maiden Dakar win.

"I am very happy, the Dakar is now my main goal, I did it six or seven times, a few times on the podium, but never in first place, so I hope to fight to win, and with the support of Dacia, with a real project from a car manufacturer, it is excellent news for me. I'm sure we will do nice things together.

#201 Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive: Sebastien Loeb, Fabian Lurquin

#201 Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive: Sebastien Loeb, Fabian Lurquin

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Loeb’s team-mate Gutierrez added: “I have been in motorsport for 14 years, but the next few years are very special for me because I will be joining Dacia, and my dreams are coming true. I want to thank everyone who has been with me, and I am sure I will work to achieve the best results and memories for Dacia, I hope you enjoy it with me".

Dacia cited both the sustainability aspect as well as Dakar’s relevance to its road cars as reasons behind its decision to enter the rally from 2025.

"It's a test bed for new engines and driving solutions, but what people may not know is that yesterday's Dakar is no longer today's Dakar, it's becoming a laboratory for low-carbon mobility,” said Dacia CEO Denis le Vot.

"Another reason we are taking part is because this race is like us, Dacia's DNA fits with the Dakar, and vice versa. The race is a human, sporting and technical adventure, and Dacia is also an adventure, so we will go where you don't expect, we will blaze our own trail, and the three characteristics of the brand fit together.

"We are robust on the outside, Dacia cars are designed for the outdoors, they have that solid, tried and tested, tried and tested reputation, and on top of that, they are environmentally friendly. We are essential because Dacia's design appeals to everyone, just like driving one."

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