CC Nasser Al Attiyah holds fourth after leg one in Morocco
2007 Guy Hoquet Rally of Morocco
For immediate release
Tuesday, September 25th, 2007
X-RAID’S NASSER AL-ATTIYAH HOLDS
FOURTH AFTER LEG ONE IN MOROCCO
· Electrical problems cost Guerlain Chicherit crucial time
· Paolo Nobre safely through opening selective section
ZAGORA (Morocco): The AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team held fourth position after the opening leg of this year’s Guy Hoquet Rally of Morocco, a 245km special stage around Zagora, on Tuesday.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Alain Guehennec had pushed their BMW X3CC to within 1m 46s of the final podium position on the varied all-terrain stage, but trail a trio of Volkswagen Touaregs heading into the second leg. “We had a puncture and also broke a driveshaft,” said Al-Attiyah. “Two small problems, but it cost us enough time to lose touch with the leading pair and dropped us behind Sousa. Sousa passed us when we stopped to change the wheel, but we passed him again afterwards. We will bounce back tomorrow.”
Team mates Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel had started brightly in the second official BMW X3CC, but they suffered an electrical problem two kilometres after the passage control at the 133km point and were forced to stop and change the main relay. The delay in the heat of a Moroccan morning cost them around 90 minutes, although Chicherit had been in a competitive pace before the problem and was sixth fastest through the first passage control, a mere 10 seconds behind American driver Mark Miller. He faces a climb back through the leaderboard on Tuesday from an unofficial 24th overall.
Brazilian Paolo Nobre and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro finished the stage down the leaderboard in just over 3h 10m after a minor sensor problem cost them crucial time. They held an unofficial 16th place with several drivers still to reach the finish on Tuesday afternoon.
X-Raid Team Manager Sven Quandt was pleased with the speed and competitiveness of the official X3s on the opening stage and realised that only minor problems had cost each of his top drivers a competitive finish. “When Nasser had a puncture and broke a driveshaft, that is valuable time gone but he was not pushing today. He has plenty in reserve at the moment. He is taking no risks. Guerlain was driving well until the problem and Paolo managed to hold off Carlos Sainz for around 75km at the start of the stage, so we take many positives into the next stage.”
Spaniard Sainz heads into the second leg of the event a mere 34s behind South African team mate and overall rally leader Giniel de Villiers, with Portugal‘s Carlos Sousa just ahead of Al-Attiyah in third position.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) teams will tackle a second Zagora loop stage. The X-Raid Team will embark upon an 81km tarmac liaison to the start of the timed section at Ouled Driss, south of Zagora, and then a 327km special, before returning to Zagora on a 13km liaison.
In total there will be 421km in leg two, although the stage starts with a sandy section of around 20km, before a section of fast, rolling piste takes drivers to the passage control at the 185km point. The remainder of the stage takes place over a variety of gravel surfaces and finishes in a large valley at the village of Timettigue, although one section will be the fastest of the entire event and there will be a particularly twisty track to the village of Oujrame, where an assistance point has been planned for motorcycles.
The NPO insist that there will be several sandy sections in small dunes, a twisty section through some stunning terrain, jumps en route to the Tafenna crater, difficult navigation and sections through areas of population where care will be required.
Guy Hoquet Rally of Morocco 2007 – positions after leg one (unofficial @ 15.00hrs):
1. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 27m 45s
2.Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 28m 19s
3. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 34m 02s
4. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3CC 2h 35m 48s
5. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 42m 31s
6. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Jean-Michel Polato Schlesser Buggy 2h 47m 22s, etc
16. Paolo Nobre (BR)/Filipe Palmeiro (BR) BMW X3 CC 3h 10m 54s
24. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3CC 4h 10m 22s
Further information and photos are available at www.x-raid.de or contact Yvette Theisen at X-raid GmbH, Tel: + 49 (0) 6147 204670, E-mail: email@example.com.