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DAK Second and seventh places for BMW into Neuquen

X-RAID TEAM NEWS
DAKAR RALLY 2009 (January 3rd-January 18th, 2009)

Leg 4: Jacobacci - Neuquén
Liaison, 83 km; special, 380 km; liaison, 25 km; total, 488 km.

For immediate release
Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

X-RAID'S AL-ATTIYAH AND TERRANOVA SECOND AND
SEVENTH QUICKEST ON FOURTH DAKAR RALLY STAGE

·Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah maintains second place
·Russian Novitskiy back on pace after delays into Jacobacci

NEUQUÉN (Argentina): X-raid's Sails Capital Racing Team maintained the pressure on the leading Spaniard Carlos Sainz, by setting the second, seventh and ninth fastest times on a shorter, but nonetheless, demanding special stage between Ingeniero Jacobacci and Neuquén through a region renowned for its palaeontology in western Patagonia on Tuesday.

Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner were the first crew into the stage and held an advantage early on, before slipping behind eventual stage winner Sainz. The Spaniard only extended his overall lead by six seconds to 3m 46s after a spirited late surge by Al-Attiyah in his latest-specification Trebur-built BMW X3 CC.

Al-Attiyah duly set the second fastest time to maintain a similar position in the overall rankings, while team mates Orlando Terranova and Alain Guehennec were seventh quickest, although the Argentinean had been second fastest into the opening passage control, before losing time late on with a puncture.

"It was like a WRC rally in one day today," said Al-Attiyah. "I am quite happy with our result, even though we nearly caught Carlos and won the stage when he stopped to check a slow puncture. Today was only gravel with some difficult river crossings, but we are expecting some dunes tomorrow and I am in a good position to keep up the pressure."

"Our drivers are all doing very well and driving in a very professional manner now," said team director Sven Quandt. "We have six cars in the bivouac with little damage and little work for the mechanics. That is important at this stage of the race."

"The stage was very difficult to overtake," said Terranova. "We caught (Mark) Miller) and then we started to catch bikes and quads and then more bikes. I made a mistake in one navigation point and we drove through a big sea of cacti and I got a big puncture. That cost us second or third in the stage and I finished seventh.

"I made tomorrow's stage by bike one time. Maybe it is the same. It looks similar on the map and it will be difficult."

Today's relatively short special stage was shortened even further by 79km at the request of a local landowner, although it retained its tricky and varied nature. Fifty-six cars, bikes and trucks had retired from the race this morning, out of the original 531 starters.

Dutchman Peter van Merksteijn and Belgian co-driver Eddy Chevallier set the 14th fastest time in their BMW X3 CC and now hold 12thb overall.

Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit and co-driver Matthieu Baumel had climbed to 93rd position at the start of the day's stage and eventually claimed the ninth fastest time to continue their gradual assault on the middle reaches of the leader board.

"Now it is a new race for me after the problems on the first day," admitted Chicherit. "A win is not possible, so now I have to stay in contact inside the top 10 and stay close to Nasser. Today was the most difficult for us so far and we had a brake problem after 100km and it was difficult to take the right line into the corners."

Dutchman René Kuipers and Portuguese co-driver Filipe Palmeiro have found a consistent pace in their BMW X3 CC and completed the fourth leg in 19th  position to climb to 17th overall.

X-raid Russia's Leonid Novitskiy and co-driver Oleg Tyupenkin lost their place in the top 12 on the stage into Ingeniero Jacobacci on Monday afternoon. The Russian hit a rock and the impact damaged his BMW X3 CC's front suspension. He eventually completed the stage in 120th position and slipped to 40th in the overall standings after losing over four hours making repairs.

The Russian was reseeded in 21st position for safety reasons, held 11th through PC1 and eventually finished the stage in 13th place.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) the route continues its steady climb north from the harsh hinterlands of Patagonia into less hostile and more sandy terrain en route to San Rafaël close to the Argentinean foothills of the mighty Andes mountain range.

The day begins with a 173km liaison section through Barda del Medilo to the start of a 506km special stage, which has an opening passage control near Tres Chorros and a second checkpoint after a run through the mountaineous Sierra del Nevado. A short 84km liaison takes team to the overnight halt, which is a city on the Diamante River in the southern region of the Mendoza Province, 650 metres above sea level.

Overall positions on leg 4 (unofficial @ 14.00hrs):
1. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2)  3h 42m 57s
2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)  3h 43m 03s
3. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2)  3h 45m 21s
4. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 3h 47m 17s
5. Joan 'Nani' Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2) 3h 48m 35s
6. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzevitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 3h 48m 45s
7. Orlando Terranova (RA)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)  3h 49m 46s
8. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2) 3h 49m 51s
9. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)  3h 53m 28s
10. Robbie Gordon (USA)/Andy grider (USA) Hummer (Open 1)   3h 55m 10s

Other X-raid crews
13. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC (T1.2) 4h 00m 42s
14. Peter van Merksteijn (NL)/Eddy Chevallier (B) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)  4h 01m 19s
19. René Kuipers (NL)/Filipe Palmeiro (P) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)   4h 12m 18s

Overall positions after leg 4:
1. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2)            12h 47m 45s
2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)            12h 51m 31s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzevitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2)  12h 59m 18s
4. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2) 13h 03m 26s
5. Joan 'Nani' Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2)  13h 07m45s
6. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2)      13h 07m 50s
7. Orlando Terranova (RA)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)              13h 12m 15s
8. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2)           13h 28m 56s

Other X-raid crews
12. Peter van Merksteijn (NL)/Eddy Chevallier (B) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)           13h 57m 10s
17. René Kuipers (NL)/Filipe Palmeiro (P) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)             14h 41m 28s
TBA. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)       18h 05m 37s
TBA. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)            20h 44m 22s

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: 06/01/2009

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