World Rally-Raid Championship: Pierre-Louis Loubet to Debut Hybrid Apache at Africa Eco Race

    World Rally Championship (WRC) competitor Pierre-Louis Loubet is set to make his debut in the world of rally raid, as he will be entering the 2024 Africa Eco Race (AER) behind the wheel of the new Apache APH-01 hybrid side-by-side vehicle. He will be joined by co-driver François Borsotto for this exciting new challenge.

    “This is a whole new experience for me, for the whole team,” stated Loubet. “I’m super happy to be at the start of this project with lots of highly motivated people with lots of new ideas. The idea of a rally raid hybrid is going to be a whole new challenge. We have plenty of things to prove.”

    Loubet, the 2019 WRC-2 champion, has already been competing sporadically in the premier WRC since 2015. While he was associated with the Hyundai and M-Sport Ford teams in recent years, this AER entry is not connected to any specific WRC program.

    “We hope to have a great first event and that this will allow us to move forward together for a great adventure,” added Loubet, who is eager to explore the world of rally raid with this new hybrid project.

    The APH-01 that Loubet and Borsotto will be piloting is a hybrid machine, operating on both a Peugeot internal combustion engine and an electric motor, along with the use of biofuels. The vehicle made its competition debut at the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas’ Baja Portalegre 500 in October, though it was not classified in the results as it was a non-championship entry.

    While the APH-01 will not be competing in the Dakar Rally, it is eligible for the World Rally-Raid Championship’s T3.U category for electric Challenger (T3) cars. The team’s focus will be on the Africa Eco Race, which follows a similar route to the original Dakar Rally across Europe and Africa.

    Borsotto, a Dakar Rally veteran, will provide valuable experience as Loubet’s co-driver. The Frenchman most recently navigated the MD Optimus of Ludovic Gherardi in the 2023 Dakar, finishing 20th in the T1 class. Borsotto also won the 2019 Africa Eco Race alongside Jean-Pierre Strugo.

    The 2024 Africa Eco Race is set to begin in Monaco on December 30, 2023, and will run through January 14, 2024. Loubet’s participation in this event marks an exciting new chapter in his motorsport career as he ventures into the world of rally raid with the innovative Apache APH-01 hybrid side-by-side.

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