CC Three fastest times for BMW on leg nine 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
Thursday, April 30th, 2009
THREE FASTEST TIMES FOR X-RAID CREWS
ON NINTH LEG OF OILIBYA TUNISIA RALLY
·Orlando Terranova extends his overall rally lead
·Novitskiy fastest and in third place; Chicherit up to fourth
KSAR (Tunisia): The three X-raid BMW X3 CCs set the fastest times on the ninth 275km competitive section of the 2009 OiLibya Tunisia Rally between Oueni and Ksar Ghilane on Thursday.
X-raid Russia's Leonid Novitskiy set the quickest time of 2h 42m 50s from Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit and Argentinean Orlando Terranova, but Terranova now heads into the final two days of the 11-stage event with a comfortable unofficial overall lead of 33m 39s. Novitskiy and Chicherit hold third and fourth overall behind Team Dessoude's Christian Laveille.
The day's special featured mainly fast and rocky tracks, although there was a tricky section through some sand dunes and the X-raid BMWs were able to take advantage and head the rest of the field. Chicherit duly passed Pascal Thomasse and moved into fourth place and Novitskiy reduced Laveille's hold on second place by 11 minutes.
"It was an excellent stage result for us," said X-raid team director Sven Quandt. "Orly has kept a good lead and now we have first, third and fourth places. There are only two days to go and I don't want our drivers to take any risks.
"It would be nice to fill the top three positions, but Leonid will be opening the road tomorrow and it is never easy to gain time when that is the case. I will be quite happy with first, third and fourth at the finish if it stays that way."
The eighth stage on Wednesday ran for 365km between Gharbiyah and Nalut - as the event returned to Tunisia - and Chicherit set the fastest time to move within sight of Pascal Thomasse and fourth overall. The Frenchman was over four minutes faster than Jean-Louis Schlesser's Porsche-engined Buggy and Nicolas Misslin in a Mitsubishi Pajero MPR13 and the achievement pushed him just 45 seconds behind Thomasse in the unofficial results.
Terranova's overall lead was reduced from 33m 33s to 31m 31s, but the Argentinean stayed out of trouble, as Laveille and Novitskiy maintained second and third overall.
Tomorrow (Friday) features the penultimate stage of the event. The route includes a tricky series of dune crossings and heads from Ksar Ghilane to the renowned Star Wars filming location in the Tunisian desert, near Tozeur, and includes a competitive section of 313km.
The final desert selective takes place on Saturday (May 2nd) and includes a short 154km competitive trail between Chamsa and Nefta, before a 26km liaison guides the surviving teams to the finish celebrations and ceremonial podium in Tozeur.
OiLibya Tunisia Rally - overall positions after leg 9: Oueni to Ksar (unofficial @ 1.10pm):
1. Orlando Terranova (RA)/Filipe Palmeiro (P) BMW X3 CC 23h 44m 03s
2. Christian Laveille (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Nissan Dessoude Proto 24h 17m 42s
3. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC 24h 25m 45s
4. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC 24h 43m 11s
5. Pascal Thomasse (F)/Pascal Larroque (F) MD Rallye Buggy 24h 56m 22s
6. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Jean-Paul Forthomme (F) Schlesser Porsche-Buggy 25h 29m 45s, etc
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.