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Victory Team star up to sixth place in Turkey

MOTORSPORT

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

For immediate release
Thursday, August 5th, 2004

DUBAI'S KHALIFA AL-MUTAWEI
MOVES UP TO SIXTH IN TURKEY

Victory Team star on track for World Cup lead;
Frenchman Saby extends advantage in VW

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

The fifth fastest time on Wednesday's gruelling stage around Urgup moved the Dubai driver into a position to potentially give him nine invaluable championship points, which would be sufficient for the Victory Team star to take a slender overall FIA World Cup lead. After the seven-day event in Turkey there are two further rounds remaining in the series in the United Arab Emirates and Argentina in October and November.

~It was a difficult stage today,~ said Al-Mutawei. ~But the result was the most important thing. I started the section three minutes behind Dominique Housieaux in his Mitsubishi and it was crucial that I found a way past. I am now in striking distance of the leaders and only around five minutes behind my nearest rival.

~Phillipe Gache's Buggy is my next target, because moving up one further place on the leaderboard could be worth an extra three points when the rally finishes on Saturday and at the end of the season those extra points could be crucial. I need to find a swift pace and make no mistakes. There is still a long way to go.~

Frenchman Bruno Saby and his co-driver Michel Perin took yet another stage win in the revised Volkswagen Touareg, although the former Lancia and Peugeot WRC driver was forced to work hard to extend his overall advantage to 10m 20s over the Belgian driver Gregoire de Mevius and his co-driver Jacky Dubois.

De Mevius pushed Saby all the way in his Team Dessoude Nissan Pick-Up and completed the stage in searing heat a mere 27 seconds behind the Volkswagen to consolidate his second place in the overall classification.

Former World Champion Jean-Louis Schlesser and French co-driver Francois Borsotto completed the second loop stage in third place to maintain the final podium placing in the results, while Jutta Kleinschmidt took the fourth fastest time to move up to a similar overall position in the second Volkswagen, ahead of the SMG Buggy of French racing driver Phillipe Gache. Frenchman Dominique Housieaux slipped to seventh position in the Ralliart Mitsubishi Pajero, over 10 minutes behind Al-Mutawei's German-built, diesel-engined BMW X5 Rallye-Raid.

Friday's selective heads out of Urgup en route to Bozkir. The section is the longest of the entire rally at 644 kms in length, with 390 kms set to test the surviving teams before the final section into Antalya on Saturday. The stage passes Mount Taurus, offers some relatively straightforward navigation in the early sections, before the terrain becomes more difficult. The track ascends a large plateau between 2500 metres and 3500 metres above sea level and teams pass alpine-like terrain on the run into the stage finish in Bozkir.

Positions after SS4 (top 7):
1. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 11h 52m 36s
2. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Jacky Dubois (B) Nissan Pick-Up 12h 02m 26s
3. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Buggy 12h 05m 53s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 12h 09m 12s
5. Phillipe Gache (F)/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F) SMG Buggy 12h 24m 06s
6. Khalifa Al-Mutawei (UAE)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 12h 28m 53s
7. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero 12h 39m 55s

Positions on day's stage (top 5):
1. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 4h 17m 57s
2. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Jacky Dubois (B) Nissan Pick-Up 4h 18m 24s
3. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Buggy 4h 21m 00s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 4h 21m 44s
5. Khalifa Al-Mutawei (UAE)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 4h 25m 07s

Ends

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Date issued: 05/08/2004

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