CC BMW holds first and second overall in Tunisia
X-RAID TEAM NEWS
OILIBYA TUNISIA RALLY, April 22nd - May 2nd, 2009
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round two
For immediate release
Friday, April 24th, 2009
X-RAID'S THREE CREWS HOLD FIRST, SECOND AND SIXTH
AFTER DAY THREE OF THE OILIBYA TUNISIA RALLY
· X-raid's Terranova wins two Tunisian selective sections
· Super special winner Chicherit loses time on shortened stage
RAS EL OUED (Tunisia): The X-raid team held first, second and sixth places after the third leg of the 11-day OiLibya Tunisia Rally between Oued Mellah and Ras El Oued in Tunisia on Friday.
Argentinean driver Orlando Terranova had begun the varied day with a 61-second advantage over his X-raid Russia team-mate Leonid Novitskiy. The Mendoza-based BMW X3 CC driver eventually finished the 356km selective section in first position and extended his overall lead to an unofficial 1m 40s.
Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit started the day in warm, sunny conditions from fifth in the overall rankings behind Frenchman Nicolas Misslin and Team Dessoude's Christian Laveille. But he lost valuable time in the stage and slipped to sixth overall at the end of the first three Tunisian stages.
Terranova's success meant that X-raid drivers had won each of the first three timed sections of the longest of the FIA World Cup rounds in their BMW X3 CCs.
"It has been a good start for us over the first three days, but the real meat of this rally and the major tests are to come in the next few stages in Libya," said team director Sven Quandt. "Guerlain was the first on the road on the second day and was requested to take a wrong route, but our other drivers have started very well."
The competitive action got underway on Wednesday afternoon with a five-kilometre super special stage on the sand at Gammarth, near Tunis, and Chicherit immediately laid down the gauntlet to his rivals with the fastest time of 3m 39s. It was sufficient to give the Frenchman a lead of 10 seconds over Novitskiy, with the Buggy of Pascal Thomasse in third position. Terranova held five.
"I know it was only the start, but the result of the super special gave me confidence," admitted Chicherit, the winner of the recent Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
Thursday's second 216km selective section passed between Le Kef and Sidi Boubaker to the south of Tunis, but Chicherit lost his overall lead to Terranova, who set the fastest time on the stage.
The Argentinean finished the modified and shortened 60km competitive section ahead of Novitskiy and third-placed Frenchman Nicolas Misslin and found himself in an overall lead of 1m 01s. Chicherit lost time when he was forced to stop on two occasions on the modified route, which was changed to avoid passing through a field.
Tomorrow (Saturday) the event crosses the border into Libya. The day's route of 582km includes 288km of competition between Ras El Oued and Dehibat and a long liaison section to the bivouac in Deri.
In a total route of 4,297km, there are over 3,100 proposed competitive kilometres with the on-stage action set to reach a conclusion in Tozeur on Saturday, May 2nd.
2009 OiLibya Tunisia Rally - overall positions after leg 3 (unofficial @ 2pm):
1. Orlando Terranova (RA)/Filipe Palmeiro (P) BMW X3 CC 4h 01m 07s
2. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC 4h 02m 57s
3. Nicolas Misslin (F)/Jean-Michel Polato (F) Mitsubishi Pajero MPR13 4h 07m 06s
4. Eric Vigouroux (F)/Alex Winocq Pro-System 4h 12m 50s
5. Christian Laveille (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Nissan Dessoude Proto 4h 13m 20s
6. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC 4h 19m 18s
7. Pascal Thomasse (F)/Pascal Larroque (F) MD Rallye Buggy 4h 20m 35s
8. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Jean-Paul Forthomme (F) Schlesser Porsche Buggy 4h 23m 26s
Further information and photos are available at www.x-raid.de or contact Stefanie Marquard at X-raid GmbH, Tel: + 49 (0) 6147 204670, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.