Sebastien Loeb Racing teams up with Polaris to field the SSV for Xavier de Soultrait at the 2023 Dakar Rally

Xavier de Soultrait has long competed in rally raids on two wheels after winning a stage Dakar Rally in the Bikes category and will be taking part in the event for eight years. However, for 2023 he will switch to four wheels when racing Polaris RZR Pro in the SSV (T4) category for Sebastien Loeb Racing. Polaris SUV will provide factory support under a new five-year deal with SLR.

Soultrait won the 2016 FIM Bajas World Cup and has titles in enduro racing. He made his Dakar debut in 2014 as a works rider for Yamaha won its first stage in 2019 on track for a career-best seventh overall. However, after a series of retirements, he switched to Husqvarna and competed as a privateer in the 2022 rally, where he finished fifteenth.

“Having done side-by-side passenger testing with Sébastien Loeb, we are making progress on my move into this category.” said soul trait. “The demands as a motorbike or SSV rider are very high and I hope that this next cycle will be as long as my first on two wheels. I will put in all the intensity and effort required to successfully complete this new challenge. The Dakar Rally is about adventure and human encounters and I think that with Sébastien Loeb Racing the story can become virtuoso. Of course, the presence of Sébastien Loeb as our team principal will be valuable as his experience and knowledge of the discipline will be necessary to help us progress faster. My desire to play the leading role, as I’ve tried to do on two wheels in recent issues, is undiminished. I’m sure it will be another fun adventure and I can’t wait to get started.”

Loeb is better known for his nine world rally championships but has increased his involvement in rally raiding since retiring from full-time rallying. Race in class T1 for Bahrain Raid XtremeLoeb finished second in the Dakar Rally 2022 and Rally Raid World Championship to Nasser Al-Attiyah.

SLR has followed its owner to various series including the FIA World Touring Car and World Rallycross Championshipsalthough Loeb races for other teams rather than his own race.

“The Dakar is my current discipline, which I have discovered over time and have come to appreciate in recent years,” Loeb commented. “I think it’s a big challenge that we have to take on. It’s a difficult, long, endurance race that highlights the collaboration between a team, its drivers and its supporters. It’s great that we can get involved in this discipline with SLR.

Dominique (Heintz, team manager) started as a motorcyclist in Dakar and it was important to him to return to this program one day. The opportunity to work with a manufacturer like Polaris is particularly motivating for us. Using Polaris vehicles is a great opportunity for our team. We will try to do great things together, so why not win the category in the future?”

Polaris will try to break the grip Can-Am is holding on T4 at Dakar. To Leandro Torres Won the class in an RZR in 2017, Can-Ams has won the category every year since, including a podium in the last four editions.

“An initial period of ten years has just come to an end, in which we experienced many things that shaped the whole team,” commented Heinz. “We are entering a new decade and want to mark this with new projects. The future of the Sébastien Loeb Racing Team will be rally raids. The Dakar is a monument and will remain so for a long time. The human factor makes this discipline a unique competition.

“We will not take this new challenge lightly, as there are many subjects to be mastered in this discipline and chance has no place. Humility has always been our way of working with Sébastien, so we will keep cool to offer a competitive structure. We are exceptionally fortunate to have Seb on our side on a program he knows well.

“This new adventure with Polaris is the logical continuation of our desire to work with renowned manufacturers since the team’s inception. I am convinced that our cooperation will bring great things and we have already started to be ready in early 2023. It is an extremely difficult event, all scenarios must be considered and we are working on it with the Polaris teams.

“For me, the Dakar started thirty years ago and is an event that has guided my whole life, so I want to face this next challenge with my team full of emotions.”

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