CC Enormous Desert Challenge lead for Al Attiyah after fourth leg

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

Leg 4: Moreeb Hill to Moreeb Hill: liaison, 6.50km; special, 314.95km; liaison, 122.20km; total, 443.65 km.

For immediate release
Thursday, October 30th, 2008


·X-raid's Novitskiy in flying form on fourth Desert Challenge leg

MOREEB HILL (UAE): Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner maintained their seemingly effortless quest for victory in the UAE Desert Challenge with a fifth successive stage victory on leg four of the event on Thursday.

The BMW X3 CC crew, who are running as part of X-raid's AlgoDyne Green Racing Team, extended their overnight lead of 2h 51m 50s to 3h 49m 36s over the UAE's Yayha Al-Helai heading into the final two stages on Friday.

X-raid Russia's Leonid Novitskiy and Oleg Tyupenkin dropped to 10th overall overnight after they incurred a time penalty, but the Russians were in superb form on Thursday's stage and set the second fastest time, finishing a mere 1m 56s behind Al-Attiyah. The result lifted the Russians back into the top five.

"The stage was quite fast," said Al-Attiyah. "There were also some difficult sections in the soft dunes. I pushed hard over the first section to try out some new settings for the suspension and I hope to make more adjustments on Friday to get it ready for the Dakar. It is also important that we don't take any risks tomorrow. There is too much at stake."

"I am obviously very happy with the result of the day," said a delighted X-raid's team director Sven Quandt. "First and second for us and Leonid set a very good time as well. We have tried new tyres and they worked well. Maybe the fact that Leonid started behind a few cars was an advantage in the dunes, but he still did a very good job.

"Tomorrow Nasser must keep his concentration and make sure that he brings the car home. I know a racer wants to win every stage, but he is close to a major achievement and knows the importance of finishing the race."

Al-Attiyah restarted with a 2h 51m 50s overall lead and was running nine minutes ahead of Holowczyc at the first passage control point at 78.58km and had extended his overall advantage by a further four minutes after 109.45km. By PC3, the lead on the stage was up to 17 minutes and the overall advantage had exceeded three hours for the first time. 

Novitskiy had dropped to 10th overall after times had been re-collated by race officials and he had been given a 2h 45m penalty. But the Russian restarted from fourth position on the road, excluding the Kamaz truck in front of him, and was quickly into an impressive pace. He shadowed Al-Attiyah to the stage finish and recorded the second fastest time to cap an excellent day for the AlgoDyne Green Racing Team.

Tomorrow (Friday) is the final leg of the 2008 UAE Desert Challenge and surviving teams will tackle two selective sections of 118.60km and 166.25km in a total route of 528.03km. The opening competitive stage starts at the same place as the finish of leg one and PC2 on leg four, while the final stage finishes near the endurance horse stables at Al-Asaili.

It is the longest leg of the entire event and draws to a conclusion with the ceremonial finish at the Dubai International Marine Club from 4pm.

The X-raid team will also be hoping that outright victory is sufficient for Al-Attiyah to clinch the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.

2008 UAE Desert Challenge

Positions on leg 4 (unofficial @ 12.30 CET):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC   4h 00m 49s
2. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC   4h 02m 45s
3. Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) Nissan Navara  4h 29m 29s
4. Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khalid Al-Kendi (UAE) Nissan Patrol   4h 58m 35s
5. Richard Hayward (GB)/Alex Cole (GB) Bowler Nemesis  5h 06m 25s
6. Aurelijus Petraitis (LT)/Antanas Juknevicius (LT) Oscar  5h 12m 38s

Positions after leg 4 (unofficial @ 12.30 CET):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC   15h 19m 26s
2. Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khalid Al-Kendi (UAE) Nissan Patrol   19h 09m 02s
3. Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) Nissan Navara  20h 20m 48s
4. Joseph Rosso (F)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pathfinder   22h 30m 51s
5. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC   22h 40m 59s
6. Abdullah Al-Herais (UAE)/Haleem Bin Zayed (UAE) Nissan Patrol 23h 01m 45s
7. Aurelijus Petraitis (LT)/Antanas Juknevicius (LT) Oscar  23h 35m 30s
8. Ali Al-Shawi (UAE)/Yayha Al-Amri (UAE) Nissan Patrol  23h 38m 11s
9. Ali Matar (UAE)/Mohab Mahrous (UAE) Nissan Patrol  23h 42m 59s


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: 30/10/2008

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