CC Delays for Nissan Middle East duo on second Moroccan stage
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 9
Oilibya Rally of Morocco 2015, October 5-9
For immediate release
Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
DELAYS FOR NISSAN MIDDLE EAST-BACKED DUO
ON PUNISHING SECOND STAGE IN MOROCCO
· Emil Khneisser and Denis Berezovskiy slip to third and fourth in T2
· Stage victory falls to Japan’s Muira; second for Frenchman Piana
ZAGORA (Morocco): Abu Dhabi-based Lebanese driver Emil Khneisser and Kazazh colleague Denis Berezovskiy were on the receiving end of the rigours of the North African desert during the second 224km leg of the 2015 OiLibya Rally of Morocco on Tuesday.
Backed by Nissan Middle East, the duo began the day in first and third overall in their two Nissan Patrol Y62s, but now realise why this is one of the hardest rallies in the world cross-country calendar.
Khneisser and Russian navigator Alexey Kuzmich reached the stage finish in sixth position in a time of 5hr 20min 42sec, but lost over an hour to the stage winner with clutch issues and slipped to third in the overall rankings.
“The start was perfect and I was leading until 80km, when we lost the clutch and the Patrol switched into fail safe mode with maximum engine revs of 2000,” said Khneisser. “We limped back all the way and managed to finish the stage. We will make sure everything is okay for tomorrow. I am still confident of achieving a top finish over the remaining three days.”
Berezovskiy and fellow Kazakh co-driver Ignat Falkov remain on course to earn Nissan the T2 World Championship title, but they suffered with a persistent and niggling misfire on the loop stage through the Draa wadis and valleys in southern Morocco. The Kazakh completed the stage in fourth position and slipped to a similar position in the general classification.
Japanese driver Akira Muira claimed victory in the day’s special stage with a time of 3hr 34min 51sec, alongside French navigator Laurent Lichtleuchter. This was comfortably quicker than the second fastest time set by Frenchman Marco Piana and gave Muira the outright T2 lead.
On Wednesday, competitors tackle a second loop stage of 274km around the M’Hamid area that includes many sandy areas and deceptive navigation. The special finishes with a passage through a series of sand dunes. The event finishes in the city of Agadir on Friday.
OiLibya Rally of Morocco – T2 positions after leg 2:
1. Akira Muira (JPN)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Toyota Land Cruiser 8hr 10min 35sec
2. Marat Abykayev (KAZ)/Andrei Chipenko (KYR) Toyota 9hr 36min 11sec
3. Emil Khneisser (LEB)/Alexei Kuzmich (RUS) Nissan Patrol Y62 9hr 49min 30sec
4. Denis Berezovskiy (KAZ)/Ignat Falkov (KAZ) Nissan Patrol Y62 9hr 56min 56sec
5. Marco Piana (FRA)/Steven Griener (SUI) Toyota Land Cruiser 10hr 07min 45sec
6. Imre Somfai (HUN)/Matyas Somfai (HUN) Toyota Land Cruiser 10hr 59min 36sec