CC X Raid team maintain third place on penultimate Moroccan stage
2007 Guy Hoquet Rally of Morocco
For immediate release
Saturday, September 29th, 2007
NASSER AL-ATTIYAH CONSERVES THIRD
PLACE FOR X-RAID TEAM IN MOROCCO
Paolo Nobre stays out of trouble to maintain seventh overall
Frenchman Chicherit back on track with seventh fastest time
OUARZAZATE (Morocco): The AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team duo of Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Alain Guehennec maintained third place in the overall classification of the
2007 Guy Hoquet Rally of Morocco, after the fifth and penultimate 344km special stage between Zagora and Ouarzazate on Saturday.
The pair set the fourth fastest time in their X-Raid BMW X3CC and head into the final day 5m 45s ahead of fourth-placed Carlos Sousa. The stage was won by Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who now takes an overall lead of just eight seconds over team mate Giniel de Villiers into the final special stage on Sunday.
Al-Attiyah and Guehennec began the day 12m 39s ahead of Portugal’s Sousa. Although the Qatari wanted to make in-roads into the overall advantage of the factory Volkswagens of Giniel de Villiers and Carlos Sainz, he needed to ensure that Sousa was kept at bay.
Al-Attiyah was second quickest behind Sousa to 47km, but then the fastest car in the entire field at 113km. By the passage control at 180km he had slipped a handful of seconds behind the Volkswagen trio, but remained well on track to conserve his third overall over the closing kilometres. The remainder of the stage featured a climb through twisty mountain trails, but the Qatari remained out of trouble to conserve his overall third position.
Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel began the morning’s stage ranked 26th in the overall classification, after amassing another chunk of time penalties on Friday. They were permitted into the stage as the seventh car on safety grounds, were immediately up to speed and were third quickest at the 47km point. Guerlain had slipped behind the leaders by113km and was running just off the pace of the leading trio at the passage control and beyond. He eventually set the unofficial seventh fastest time of 3h 53m 57s.
Paolo Nobre and Filipe Palmeiro set about the defence of their seventh place in a third BMW with suitable aplomb. Poland’s Lukasz Komornicki began the day 10m 31s behind the Brazilian, but Nobre maintained a competitive pace throughout the special stage to reach the finish with the unofficial sixth fastest time to remain safe in seventh overall.
“We managed to find the problem on Guerlain’s car on Friday night,” said X-Raid team director Sven Quandt. “There was a bad earth contact where the plastic casing had worn away and that was causing the problem on the engine wiring loom. It was as simple as that, but not easy to find. Nasser drove well again today, but now he will slow down and make sure he reaches the finish on Sunday.”
Tomorrow (Sunday) is the final day of this year’s Rally of Morocco and the stage forms a 310km loop around Ouarzazate. An 80km tarmac liaison takes teams from Ouarzazate to the start of the 222km special at Taghdout and an eight kilometre liaison returns crews from the finish near Ouarzazate to parc ferme.
The stage starts with a punishing climb through the midi-Atlas on a narrow, abrasive track that winds for around 90km, where punctures are a distinct threat. The stage reaches the Toudgine mountain and tricky navigation will take crews to the village of Tazenakht over several difficult sandy trails.
The terrain changes to rolling piste and gravel for the next 110km up to an altitude of 1,500 metres and includes a passage control at the 147km point. The closing kilometres of this year’s event will take place over rough, stony terrain, while the finish point will be situated at the heart of the scenic Fint Oasis.
Guy Hoquet Rally of Morocco 2007 – positions on leg five:
1. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 28m 48s
2. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 32m 23s
3. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 35m 39s
4. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3CC 3h 42m 33s
5. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 49m 06s
6. Paolo Nobre (BR)/Filipe Palmeiro (BR) BMW X3 CC 3h 52m 10s
7. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC 3h 53m 57s
Guy Hoquet Rally of Morocco 2007 – overall positions after leg five (unofficial @ 14.00 hrs):
1. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 14h 31m 29s
2. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 14h 31m 37s
3. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3CC 15h 03m 23s
4. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 15h 09m 08s
5. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Touareg 15h 49m 03s
6. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Jean-Michel Polato (F) Schlesser Buggy 16h 17m 46s
7. Paolo Nobre (BR)/Filipe Palmeiro (BR) BMW X3 CC 16h 32m 12s
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.