After a year of hiatus, Loeb returned to Dakar in 2021 to lead the new Bahrain Raid Extreme team run by Prodrive, along with longtime co-driver Daniel Elena.
However, the French campaign got off to a terrifying start with a 277km special between Jeddah and Bisha, with the 46-year-old losing twice at the 37km opening and nearly 15 minutes to his rivals.
Loeb’s misery was exacerbated by three separate punctures in the rest of the stage, ranking 22nd in the overall category and 12 separates from the top 10 spots.
Robe, who is chasing his first victory in Dakar on his fifth attempt from Motorsport.com, said: “Our strategy was to attack from the beginning and recover for a while, but after 15km we got lost.
“We started moving up and down for 15 minutes looking for the right way. When we had the intuition to make a U-turn and start over, we were stuck on a mountain road. It was a bit frustrating, but it was. It was rewarded.
“When we found the right path, we were in the dust of another car. It was so complicated that we got lost again. I think it was Stefan. [Peterhansel] The person who overtook us. He started on the 14th and we started on the 10th.
“I was very surprised that the first two punctures were driving very smoothly compared to my own pace. [Peugeot] I was a buggy driving in Dakar, South America. So I went even smoother, but there was a third puncture 80km away. There was a huge rock on the way and the terrain was dangerous.
“Honestly, nearly three hours was very hard, but given all the problems we had, we didn’t lose that much time. I expected an hour delay. It was hard as a whole. “
Sainz, a former WRC teammate of Loeb, resumed from where he left off in 2020, surpassing the opening stage with a small margin of 25 seconds from Stephane Peterhansel, establishing the early X-Raid Mini 1-2.
2014 event winner Nani Roma finished 6th in another BRX entry, more than 9 minutes behind leader Sainz, but far ahead of Giniel de Villiers’ lead factory Toyota, which finished 2nd in 8th. I did.
Sebastien Loeb explains the beginning of a nightmare for the 2021 Dakar Rally
https://www.motorsport.com/dakar/news/loeb-first-stage-bahrain-prodrive/4935086/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-ALL&utm_term=News&utm_content=www Sebastien Loeb explains the beginning of a nightmare for the 2021 Dakar Rally