Vaidotas Zala will pilot Prodrive Hunter at Dakar 2023

Vaidotas Žalais eighth Dakar Rally will be in what may be the best gear of his career to date as he announced Thursday he will be piloting a Prodrive Hunter T1 at the 2023 rally. He will drive under the race Teltonika race Banner as in his previous entries, except Bahrain Raid Xtreme has also come on board to provide support.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to drive the Prodrive Hunter at Dakar 2023 as it will be my first chance to compete in the rally on factory-level machines.” Said Žala. “I am particularly looking forward to driving alongside Sebastian Loeb who is an icon for every aspiring rally driver. After my first test in Dubai, I was amazed by the Prodrive Hunter’s capabilities and it put a big smile on my face, making me confident that the 2023 Dakar will be the most interesting rally of my career.”

The two-time Lithuanian rally champion has taken part in the Dakar every year since 2016. After driving a SEAT rally car for the first two years, he contested the 2018 and 2019 rallies in a Toyota Hilux. He piloted a Mini John Cooper Works Rally from 2020 to 2022 and in 2020 won the opening stage to become the first stage winner of the Lithuanian Dakar.

In his 2022 rally he finished eleventh in the cars category with a best stage position of five on the final stage.

BRX has been using the Prodrive Hunter since 2021. The car was designed by Ian Callumand a street-legal version was unveiled in March.

In 2022 the BRX trio will consist of Loeb, Orlando Terranovaand Nani Roma finished second, fourth and twenty-first in the overall Dakar standings. Loeb is also giving his all Rally Raid World Championship in the Hunter and currently leads the T1 classification by one point, while Terranova has not competed in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge but will compete in the Rallye du Maroc in preparation for Dakar. Roma is recovering after his battle with bladder cancer and has expressed hope of competing in Morocco or Dakar but won’t rush into action if he doesn’t feel ready to return.

“Having Vaidotas at Dakar 2023 is a testament to how closely the rally raiding world is watching us and admiring the Hunter car and the BRX team,” Added BRX team boss Gus Beteli. “We are planning a four-car team for the 2023 Dakar, with more names to be announced soon. But first we are concentrating on the Morocco and Andalucia rallies, the final rounds of the 2022 FIA World Rally Raid Championship. These are exciting times for us here.”

The 2023 Dakar Rally begins on December 31, 2022.

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