CC Terranova and Palmeiro win in Tunisia for BMW
X-RAID TEAM NEWS
OILIBYA TUNISIA RALLY, April 22nd - May 2nd, 2009
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round two
For immediate release
Saturday, May 2nd, 2009
TERRANOVA AND PALMEIRO CLINCH VICTORY
FOR X-RAID IN 2009 OILIBYA TUNISIA RALLY
· Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit seals third position
· Leonid Novitskiy crashes heavily near Ksar Ghilane
TOZEUR (Tunisia): Orlando Terranova and Filipe Palmeiro claimed victory for the X-raid team in the gruelling 11-day OiLibya Tunisia Rally, but victory was overshadowed by a serious crash which hospitalised the X-raid Russia crew of Leonid Novitskiy and Oleg Tyupenkin, near Ksar Ghilane, on Friday.
The Russians had been holding third overall when they were caught out by a deceptive, cautioned sand spit and rolled at speed, the accident destroying their BMW X3 CC and giving both crew members hand and arm injuries.
Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner finished third overall in the third Trebur-built BMW, but had the consolation of winning the final loop stage between Chamsa and Nefta on Saturday.
Twenty-five cars began the final section, which was split into two and featured a variety of desert terrain. Mendoza-based Terranova and his Portuguese co-driver began the day with a 33m 39s advantage over Team Dessoude's Christian Laveille and eventually cruised to an emphatic 38m 20s victory to record the biggest win of his promising career.
"It was a long and difficult rally, maybe too long when you have privateers taking part," said Sven Quandt, X-raid's team director. "Obviously the crash overshadowed the victory, but it was a win nonetheless.
"We would have liked to bring all three cars to the finish, but that is the nature of an unpredictable sport like cross-country rallying."
The penultimate stage was neutralised after Novitskiy and Tyupenkin were involved in the high-speed crash close to the start of the competitive section between Ksar Ghilane and Tozeur.
The crew were stabilised at the scene and airlifted to hospital in Djerba, where Tyupenkin received treatment for a serious arm injury and Novitskiy underwent an operation on his hand. The pair will now be transferred back to Europe and on to a hospital in Moscow for further medical treatment.
"It was a high-speed crash at a sand spit, which had a double caution in the road book," said Quandt. "The car rolled heavily for around 200 metres and both drivers sustained injuries. Thankfully they were both transferred swiftly to Djerba and received medical attention."
Novitskiy had been running first on the road, after winning the ninth stage between Oueni and Ksar Ghilane on Thursday afternoon, but the accident ended his chances of finishing third overall.
X-raid's Argentinean driver Orlando Terranova continued to lead the second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies heading into the final 154km stage, which was made up of two loops of 81km and 73km between Chamsa and Nefta.
The X-raid team had dominated proceedings at the front of the field since the action began with a short super special stage, near Tunis, on Thursday, April 23rd.
There were around 3,000 competitive kilometres in a route of 4,297km in Tunisia and Libya on the longest cross-country event in the FIA calendar, with the exception of the Dakar Rally.
2009 OiLibya Tunisia Rally - final positions
1. Orlando Terranova (RA)/Filipe Palmeiro (P) BMW X3 CC 25h 36m 46s
2. Christian Laveille (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Nissan Dessoude Proto 26h 15m 06s
3. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC 26h 31m 09s
4. Pascal Thomasse (F)/Pascal Larroque (F) MD Rallye Buggy 26h 51m 57s
5. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Jean-Paul Forthomme (F) Schlesser Porsche-Buggy 27h 23m 56s
6. Nicolas Misslin (F)/Jean-Michel Polato (F) Mitsubishi Pajero MPR13 29h 57m 12s
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: email@example.com.