Al Mutawei up to seventh in Turkey


2004 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup
Rallye d'Orient Cappadoce, round 5

For immediate release
Wednesday, August 4th, 2004


Victory Team star third fastest on leg three;
Frenchman Saby extends advantage for Volkswagen

URGUP (Turkey): Dubai's Khalifa Al-Mutawei and French co-driver Alain Guehennec had moved up to seventh position in the Rallye d'Orient Cappadoce, the fifth round of the 2004 Cross-Country Rallies World Cup, after the third selective loop section in and out of the town of Urgup on Wednesday morning.

They began the stage in 10th overall, but set the third fastest time behind the overall rally leader Bruno Saby and the experienced Belgian driver Gregoire de Mevius. Al-Mutawei duly moved up the leaderboard into a points-scoring position and trailed Saby, the 1993 winner of the Dakar Rally, by under 30 minutes at the start of Wednesday's fourth and longest selective of the rally, across arid plains, through agricultural terrain, via the Illara gorge, the Great Salt Lake and passed the scenic crater of a giant volcano.

~It was a good day for me after the delays on the first long selective,~ said Al-Mutawei at the wheel of a diesel-engined BMW X5 Rallye-Raid, built at Trebur-Astheim in Germany. ~I managed to gain back some of the time I lost on the likes of Jean-Louis Schlesser, Phillipe Gache and Jutta Kleinschmidt. Now I need more of the same. It is vital that I make up as much ground as possible over the closing stages, because I need the points.~

Saby managed to set his second successive fastest time in the new Volkswagen Touareg on the Urgup loop section between Ciftlick and Kurukopru, but De Mevius was always on his tail in a Team Dessoude Nissan Pick-Up and duly moved up to second overall in the classification. Saby's VW team mate Jutta Kleinschmidt set the sixth fastest time after being unable to overtake on the narrow tracks in the dust of a slower car.

Former World Champion and multiple Dakar Rally winner Jean-Louis Schlesser was fourth through the stage and holds the final podium place in his two-wheel drive Buggy, with fellow Frenchman Phillipe Gache in fourth position. French veteran Dominique Housieaux continues to hold sixth overall in a Ralliart-prepared Mitsubishi Pajero, albeit 3m 18s ahead of a hard-charging Al-Mutawei.

Thursday's selective is the third and final section to loop around the town of Urgup, with 328 competitive kilometres on offer in a testing route of 573 kms. The event finishes in the bustling coastal city of Antalya on Saturday afternoon.

Positions after SS3:
1. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 7h 34m 39s
2. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Jacky Dubois (B) Nissan Pick-Up 7h 44m 52s
3. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Buggy 7h 44m 53s
4. Phillipe Gache (F)/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F) SMG Buggy 7h 46m 18s
5. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 7h 47m 28s
6. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero 8h 00m 28s
7. Khalifa Al-Mutawei (UAE)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 8h 03m 46s

Positions on Ciftlick to Kurukopru stage (top 4):
1. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 4h 19m 15s
2. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Jacky Dubois (B) Nissan Pick-Up 4h 26m 09s
3. Khalifa Al-Mutawei (UAE)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 4h 27m 06s
4. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Buggy 4h 28m 15s


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Date issued: 04/08/2004

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