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Victory Team star loses time with navigational error in Turkey

MOTORSPORT

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

For immediate release
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004

DUBAI'S KHALIFA AL-MUTAWEI
HOLDS TOP 10 PLACING IN TURKEY

Victory Team star loses time with navigational error;
Factory Volkswagens hold first and second places

URGUP (Turkey): Dubai's Khalifa Al-Mutawei and French co-driver Alain Guehennec held a top 10 position after the second selective section of the Rallye d'Orient Cappadoce, the fifth round of the 2004 Cross-Country Rallies World Cup, between the Turkish capital of Ankara and Urgup in the Cappadoce region on Tuesday morning.

The Victory Team driver had set the fastest time through the opening stage in Ankara on Sunday, but was unable to match the pace of the revised factory Volkswagen Touaregs, when the event headed into the mountains and across rutted, rocky tracks and through narrow irrigational channels en route to Urgup, from where the third stage began on Tuesday morning.

The competitive section was held in sweltering heat and totalled 286 kms over rutted piste, dry rocky terrain and passed a salt lake, but Al-Mutawei lost his way for a time shortly after the start and was forced to follow in the dust of other drivers for the remainder of the stage.

~The navigation was very tricky on the stage,~ said Al-Mutawei. ~It was one of those days when we lost time early on and then struggled to catch up.~

The Turkish round of the FIA World Cup is the third event this season for the official Volkswagen Motorsport team, bidding to win the 2005 Dakar Rally for the first time. After showing some promise in Morocco last month, Frenchman Bruno Saby beat German team mate Jutta Kleinschmidt by 22 seconds through the stage and began Tuesday's third selective with an outright 25-second lead. It was VW's fourth outright fastest time with the new Touareg, since its debut in January's Dakar Rally.

The Volkswagen Touaregs were clear of the former World Champion Jean-Louis Schlesser in his traditional two-wheel drive Buggy, with fellow Frenchman Phillipe Gache in fourth position in an SMG Buggy. The experienced Belgian Gregoire de Mevius held fifth place in a Nissan Pick-Up and French veteran Dominique Housieaux was sixth overall in a Ralliart-prepared Mitsubishi Pajero. Belgian Stephane Henrard lost time with mechanical problems.

~I need to get back on the pace over the next few stages, because it is vital that I take as many points as possible,~ admitted Khalifa. ~Stephane Peterhansel leads the championship by four points and he is planning to take part in the UAE Desert Challenge in October, where he is more than capable of winning for a third successive year. That means that this is my best opportunity to move ahead in the championship and place the pressure on the Mitsubishi team.~

Wednesday's third selective is the second in this year's route to loop around Urgup and offers 388 kms of competition in a total route of 537 kms.

Positions after SS2:
1. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 15m 24s
2. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 15m 49s
3. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Buggy 3h 16m 38s
4. Phillipe Gache (F)/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F) SMG Buggy 3h 17m 49s
5. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Jacky Dubois (B) Nissan Pick-Up 3h 18m 27s
6. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero 3h 24m 53s
10. Khalifa Al-Mutawei (UAE)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 3h 36m 40s

Ends

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Date issued: 03/08/2004

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