CC Nasser Al Attiyah and X raid take crushing win in Spain
X-RAID TEAM NEWS
BAJA SPAIN ARAGON (July 17th-20th, 2008)
FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round 3 of 6
For immediate release
Sunday, July 20th, 2008
QATAR'S AL-ATTIYAH SEALS EMPHATIC
BAJA SPAIN ARAGON WIN FOR X-RAID
· Third and fourth places for X-raid's Campos and Novitskiy
· X-raid's Al-Attiyah extends his lead in 2008 FIA Baja Cup
ZARAGOZA (Spain): The AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team duo of Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner clinched a stunning victory in the 2008 Baja Spain Aragon, round three of the FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, for the Trebur-based X-raid team.
The Qatari was in complete control from the start of the demanding rally, held in high temperatures and dry, dusty conditions in the area around Zaragoza in Spain, and duly confirmed his third successive victory in the prestigious FIA Baja series at the wheel of a BMW X3 CC. His winning margin over Spanish runner-up Joan Roma was an emphatic 9m 08s.
The retirement of his main championship rival Boris Gadasin now means that Al-Attiyah takes an unofficial 23-point lead to the next round of the series in Hungary in August.
X-raid Portugal's Filipe Campos finished behind Roma in third place and X-raid Russia's Leonid Novitskiy was a fine fourth. Argentina's Orlando Terranova climbed back to eighth overall after lengthy delays on Friday in his BMW X3 CC and set the second fastest time on the sixth stage on Sunday.
"This was a major result for our team," said a delighted X-raid's team director Sven Quandt. "It has taken five years for us to achieve a convincing victory against Mitsubishi, but we have achieved that here. Nasser was in control on every stage and I was also impressed with Campos's driving. Both their cars were fitted with the new suspension and we were delighted with the improvements.
"Nasser will now go to Hungary and there is a fair chance that he could clinch the Baja Cup there. We are making very good progress and this was just the result we needed to prove that we are on the right track to become a very serious threat to our major rivals."
Al-Attiyah set the fastest time through the 5.42km Teruel super special stage on Thursday evening and headed into the first of Friday's selective sections with a 2.3-second advantage over Spain's Joan Roma. Filipe Campos set the fourth fastest time in his X-raid Portugal car, while X-raid drivers Terranova, Saby and Novitskiy were classified fifth, sixth and eighth. Moniz da Maia was 13th.
The first 125.15km selective section on Friday morning took crews from Calamocha to Teruel and Al-Attiyah extended his overall lead over Roma to 36 seconds by taking the fastest time. Campos, Terranova and Saby were fourth, fifth and sixth and held similar places in the overall classification, although Saby withdrew from the event and announced his retirement from the sport at the end of the section.
A punishing 206.81km special followed between Teruel and Longares, split into two sections, and Al-Attiyah extended his overall lead by a further 1m 10s at the 84.66km point. Roma was his closest challenger, with X-raid's Terranova in third position.
Al-Attiyah comfortably won the second section and headed into the overnight halt with a 4m 46s advantage. Campos held third and Novitskiy was eighth. Bernardo Moniz da Maia and co-driver Joana Sotto-Mayor were 15th, but
Argentinean Orlando Terranova and Lee Palmer found themselves down in 38th position after losing time with problems on the second section of the second selective section.
Saturday's competitive action began with a 133.12km selective between Villamayor and Huesca, north of Zaragoza, and preceded a shortened 211.63km section from Longares to Belchite via Alcaniz and a run through a super special stage in central Zaragoza held in memory of the late Colin McRae.
Al-Attiyah was again the fastest driver on the stage, despite running first on the road and the Qatari extended his overall lead to 6m 29s over Roma, who set the fourth fastest time behind Luc Alphand and X-raid Portugal's Filipe Campos. Novitskiy and Terranova were classified sixth and seventh and the result moved Terranova up to 20th in the general classification.
Moniz da Maia moved up to 11th before retiring when a freak fire engulfed his car and that of Japanese rival Hiroshi Masuoka after nearby grass caught fire where both cars had left the road on a tricky corner.
Al-Attiyah was again quickest on the last two sections of the day to extend his overall lead.
There were two final sections on Sunday, beginning with a run through a 126.74km section from Longares to Belchite and finishing with a repeat of the McRae Memorial stage in central Zaragoza from 12.51hrs.
Al-Attiyah began the final day with an 8m 34s lead over Roma, with X-Raid colleagues Campos and Novitskiy in third and fourth positions and Terranova running in 10th.
Nasser extended his advantage by a further 17 seconds at the 37km point of the 126.74km section, although he had noticeably eased to just eight seconds in front of Roma at 65.80km and eventually finished ahead of the Spaniard's time and was only the super special in Zaragoza away from a stunning win.
He duly clinched the fastest time on the final one-kilometre stage to confirm a superb result, with Campos and Novitskiy securing third and fourth places for X-raid.
Baja Spain Aragon - final positions:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC 9h 28m 58s
2. Joan Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz (E) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 9h 38m 06s
3. Filipe Campos (P)/Jaime Baptista (P) BMW X3 CC 9h 46m 31s
4. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC 10h 24m 32s
5. Tonni van Deijne (NL)/Wouter Rosegaar (NL) Mitsubishi L200 10h 35m 37s
6. Maurizio Traglio (I)/Sandro Sanesi (I) Nissan Terrano 10h 43m 13s
7. Kenjiro Shinozuka (J)/Roberto di Persio (I) Nissan Pathfinder 10h 44m 09s
8. Orlando Terranova (RA)/Lee Palmer (AUS) BMW X3 CC 10h 45m 11s
FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas -
Positions after round 3 (unofficial):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA) 45 pts
2. Boris Gadasin (RUS) 22 pts
3. Joan Roma (E) 11 pts
3. Tonnie van Deijne (NL) 11 pts
5. Laszlo Palik (H) 10 pts
6. Yayha Al-Helai (UAE) 7 pts
6. Filipe Campos (P) 7 pts, etc
Further information and photos are available at www.x-raid.de or contact Yvette Theisen at X-raid GmbH, Tel: + 49 (0) 6147 204670, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.