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CC Nasser Al Attiyah romps into emphatic lead in UAE Desert Challenge

X-RAID TEAM NEWS
UAE DESERT CHALLENGE (October 25th-31st, 2008)
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country rallies, final round

Leg 1: Abu-Dhabi to Moreeb Hill: liaison, 53.20km; special, 281.05km; liaison, 118.50km; total, 452.75 km.

For immediate release
Monday, October 27th, 2008

X-RAID'S NASSER AL-ATTIYAH ROMPS INTO EMPHATIC
LEAD AFTER LEG ONE OF UAE DESERT CHALLENGE

Russian Novitskiy makes it an X-raid 1-2 in the UAE

MOREEB HILL (UAE): Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner romped into an emphatic 18m 11s lead after the opening 281.05km desert selective section of the 2008 UAE Desert Challenge on Monday afternoon.

The AlgoDyne Green Racing Team duo led from start to finish in their new prototype BMW X3 CC and managed to pull well clear of their second-placed Russian team mates Leonid Novitskiy and Oleg Tyupenkin, as the X-raid team took control of one of the world's most difficult endurance rallies.

X-raid's potent new X3 CC sports better weight distribution, improved handling and an innovative double roof to improve airflow and cooling for the rear axle and differentials. Team director Sven Quandt was delighted with the start that both drivers had made.

"Obviously we are pleased to be first and second and so far in front of the others, but the objective of this rally is to test the new components in extreme weather conditions and over desert terrain," said Sven Quandt. "We have introduced some lighter components to bring the car closer to the 1900kg level and have been very pleased with today's progress. I just hope we can have more of the same over the next few days."

The leading X-raid duo left the start at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi in first and third places in the car category on the 53.29km liaison section and strategically positioned to mount a serious assault at the first desert stage.

Al-Attiyah romped through the first 87.63km passage control in just over 36 minutes. The Qatari was nearly five minutes in front of the fastest bike and had already edged into a 2m 02s lead over his pursuing team mate.

He maintained his clean run through PC2 at 152.95km and began to push further away from second-placed Novitskiy, as the pair of BMW X3 CCs became the class of the field. Al-Attiyah was seven minutes clear of Novitskiy at the PC3 (179.59km) point and as much again ahead of Poland's Krzysztof Holowczyc heading into the final 102 km. 

Al-Attiyah eventually finished the stage 18 minutes clear of his rivals, with Holowczyc a distant third in a powerful Nissan Navara.

"It's been a fantastic start for us," admitted Al-Attiyah. "The car feels superb. I have a good lead, but there is a long way to go to the finish."

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is one of the most difficult sections of the UAE Desert Challenge, although it is the shortest leg of the event. A liaison section of 81.15km will take teams to the start of a 296.75km selective section through the remote Rub Al-Khali and wind its way back to finish adjacent to the Moreeb Hill bivouac. There will be four passage controls at the 70.30km, 131.90km, 160.80km and 229km points in a total route of 377.90km.

2008 UAE Desert Challenge

Positions on leg 1 (unofficial @ 4pm):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC  2h 27m 15s
2. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC  2h 45m 12s
3. Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) Nissan Navara  2h 55m 14s
4. Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khalid Al-Kendi (UAE) Nissan Patrol  3h 01m 57s
5. Glen Reid (UAE)/Haydn Walker (UAE) Nissan   3h 07m 10s
6. Laurent Rosso (F)/Fabian Lurquin (B) Nissan Pathfinder  3h 10m 57s
7. Jun Mitsuhashi (J)/Akira Muira (J) Toyota Land Cruiser  3h 13m 38s
8. Par Wallentheim (S)/Dan-Olov Ohlsson (S) Isuzu D-Max  3h 17m 43s

Positions after leg 1 (unofficial @ 4pm):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC  2h 29m 29s
2. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC  2h 47m 40s
3. Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) Nissan Navara  2h 57m 30s
4. Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khalid Al-Kendi (UAE) Nissan Patrol  3h 03m 51s 
5. Glen Reid (UAE)/Haydn Walker (UAE) Nissan   3h 09m 54s
6. Laurent Rosso (F)/Fabian Lurquin (B) Nissan Pathfinder  3h 13m 48s
7. Jun Mitsuhashi (J)/Akira Muira (J) Toyota Land Cruiser  3h 16m 15s
8. Par Wallentheim (S)/Dan-Olov Ohlsson (S) Isuzu D-Max  3h 20m 27s

Ends

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: y.theisen@x-raid.de.

Date issued: 27/10/2008

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