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Al Mutawei up to fourth in Turkey

MOTORSPORT

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

For immediate release
Saturday, August 7th, 2004

DUBAI'S KHALIFA AL-MUTAWEI
LEAPS UP TO FOURTH IN TURKEY

Victory Team star fourth into Bozkir;
Belgian De Mevius leads for Nissan in Turkey

BOZKIR (Turkey): Dubai's Khalifa Al-Mutawei and French co-driver Alain Guehennec held fourth position after the penultimate section of the Rallye d'Orient Cappadoce on Saturday morning.and were a mere 110 competitive kilometres away from the outright lead in the FIA World Cup Drivers' Championship.

The Franco-Emirati pairing completed the 390 kms section from Urgup to Bozkir in fourth position and hold a similar placing in the overall standings on this fifth round of the FIA Cross-Country Rallies World Cup. Overnight leader Bruno Saby of France suffered terminal mechanical problems and handed the overall advantage to the Belgian driver Gregoire de Mevius and co-driver Jacky Dubois in a Nissan Pick-Up.

Al-Mutawei, from the Victory Rally Team, now starts the final competitive section on Saturday morning with a commanding advantage in the FIA World Drivers' Championship if he can reach the finish without incurring further time penalties. He passed French racing driver Phillipe Gache's SMG Buggy on the sixth stage and benefitted from the demise of Saby's Volkswagen to leapfrog into fourth place.

~I fulfilled the goal for the day and that was to take fifth place,~ said a delighted Al-Mutawei in his diesel-engined BMW X5 Rallye-Raid. ~But the day finished better than I could have imagined and I am now in a really strong position in the World Drivers' Championship if I can hold on to fourth position. The last stage is a short one and this is obviously my main goal. If I can take this position at the end that is a bonus after the problems I had in the early part of the rally and I will gain 15 points.~

The Belgian former Group N World Rally Champion Gregoire de Mevius finished second in the day's stage and benefitted from Saby's demise to take the overall lead in the seven-day event, although the Namur driver only has the benefit of a 2m 03s advantage to take into the final section into Antalya.

Former World Champion Jean-Louis Schlesser set the third fastest time in his two-wheel drive Buggy and Germany's Jutta Kleinschmidt, the winner of the 2001 Dakar Rally, was fastest in her Volkswagen Touareg to move up to the final podium placing. Behing Al-Mutawei and Gache, Ralliart privateer Dominique Housieaux was sixth overall in a Mitsubishi Pajero.

Saturday's final selective headed out of Bozkir en route to the official podium and finish in Antalya. In a route of 325 kms, a mere 110 kms are competitive.

Positions after SS6 (top 7):
1. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Jacky Dubois (B) Nissan Pick-Up 22h 07m 48s
2. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Buggy 22h 09m 51s
3. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 22h 14m 05s
4. Khalifa Al-Mutawei (UAE)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 22h 55m 20s
5. Phillipe Gache (F)/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F) SMG Buggy 23h 14m 10s
6. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero 23h 21m 12s

Positions on day's stage (top 6):
1. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 5h 44m 13s
2. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Jacky Dubois (B) Nissan Pick-Up 5h 47m 08s
3. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Buggy 5h 54m 11s
4. Khalifa Al-Mutawei (UAE)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 6h 02m 43s
5. Phillipe Gache (F)/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F) SMG Buggy 6h 06m 38s
6. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero 6h 10m 07s

Ends

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Date issued: 07/08/2004

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