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CC Nissan's Khneisser faces gripping showdown for podium finish in Morocco

MEDIA INFORMATION

FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 9
OiLibya Rally of Morocco 2015, October 5-9

For immediate release
Thursday, October 8th, 2015

NISSAN MIDDLE EAST-BACKED EMIL KHNEISSER FACES GRIPPING
FINAL STAGE SHOWDOWN FOR PODIUM FINISH IN MOROCCO

· Denis Berezovskiy on course to claim T2 World Championship title on Friday
· Japan’s Akira Muira extends T2 lead with third successive stage win

AGADIR (Morocco): Abu Dhabi-based Lebanese driver Emil Khneisser will need to overcome a deficit of around 10 minutes if he is to achieve a podium finish in the gruelling 2015 OiLibya Rally of Morocco.

Khneisser recorded the sixth quickest time on the fourth selective section between Zagora and Agadir on Thursday and now needs to pass the Polish driver Jaroslaw Kasberuk on the final stage on Friday to secure a prized third-placed finish in the T2 category in one of the world’s toughest rallies.

Backed by Nissan Middle East, Khneisser and Russian navigator Alexey Kuzmich actually maintained third position in the T2 standings after day three, despite getting stuck in sand near the finish of the special. They also began the fourth special just over four minutes behind second-placed Marco Paina.

Despite a lack of power, the duo recorded a fourth stage time of 5hr 06min 04sec in their Nissan Patrol Y62 and that means they start the final stage 10min 05sec behind the Pole.

“I still had a lack of power today,” admitted Khneisser. “But I managed to achieve my target and finish the stage within the allotted time. This will enhance my chances of maintaining second place in the championship.”

Nissan team mates Denis Berezovskiy and fellow Kazakh co-driver Ignat Falkov look set to claim the T2 World Championship, despite technical issues hampering the duo’s progress in Morocco.

Japanese driver Akira Muira made it a hattrick of stage victories in T2 and looks set to win the category in Morocco with one stage remaining. He set a target time of 3hr 28min 22sec on the day’s timed test and finished well clear of Qatar’s Sheikh Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani. Muira has a massive lead over Frenchman Marco Piana heading into the final day.

Competitors tackle the final 237km loop stage around Agadir on Friday morning before the ceremonial finish in the city later that afternoon.

OiLibya Rally of Morocco – T2 positions after leg 4 (unofficial @ 16.20hrs):
1. Akira Muira (JPN)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Toyota Land Cruiser 16hr 39min 07sec
2. Marco Piana (FRA)/Steven Griener (SUI) Toyota Land Cruiser 21hr 53min 24sec
3. Jaroslaw Kasberuk (POL)/Robert Szustkowski (POL) Ford Raptor 22hr 11min 57sec
4. Emil Khneisser (LEB)/Alexei Kuzmich (RUS) Nissan Patrol Y62 22hr 22min 02sec, etc

Ends

Date issued: 08/10/2015

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