CC Electrical problems cost Al Attiyah second place in the UAE
2007 FIA CROSS-COUNTRY RALLY WORLD CUP
UAE DESERT CHALLENGE (October 28th-November 2nd), round 5 of 5
Leg 5: Liaison – 118.50km, Selective section – 123.80km, Liaison – 103.80 km, Selective section – 163.80km, Liaison – 45.40 km, Total: 555.30km.
For immediate release
Friday, November 2nd, 2007
X-RAID’S AL-ATTIYAH EDGES INTO SECOND
PLACE BEFORE LATE ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS
Brazilian Nobre finishes but misses out on FIA World Cup title
MOREEB (UAE): Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner produced another scintillating display on the first of Friday’s two special stages of the UAE Desert Challenge, but cruel late electrical problems cost the crew a potentially hard-earned second place.
The AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team endured a disappointing end to a superb week’s driving by the Qatari. Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel maintained Mitsubishi’s winning streak on the event with a solid victory, while Spaniard Carlos Sainz confirmed second position for Volkswagen when Al-Attiyah had his problems over the final kilometres.
Al-Attiyah also missed out on becoming the second Qatari to win the UAE Desert Challenge since it was introduced to the FIA World Cup in 1993 – Saeed Al-Hajri won in 1993.
Brazilians Paulo Nobre and Filipe Palmeiro began the day in 16th overall and fifth on the road. Paulo finished the first of the two stages in ninth place and set the fifth fastest time on the final section, but lost his chance of taking the FIA World Cup title earlier in the week.
French team mates Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel were classified 25th overall at the start of the final leg, but they did not run on today’s stage, after driver illness and rear differential problems cost them dearly over the last two days. Team management decided to keep any available spare parts to assist Al-Attiyah’s final assault for the podium.
“What a disappointing finish to a very positive week,” said team director Sven Quandt. “Nasser was driving so well and looked set for a great finish, but then he had electrical problems near the end of the stage. The car would start and then stop again. This is something we obviously need to address in the coming days, but it has spoiled a very good result.”
Today’s opening 123.80km stage began at the same location as the finish of SS1 and Al-Attiyah again led the way for 32 of the original 45 starters. He was over a minute ahead at the sole passage control and went on to finish the stage 1m 47s faster than Giniel de Villiers to set up a thrilling finale to this year’s UAE Desert Challenge on the closing 163.80km.
The Qatari was out of the running to win the event outright – Peterhansel still led by over 10 minutes – but Al-Attiyah was now only 28 seconds behind the twice former WRC champion Carlos Sainz on the final section back towards Dubai after another stunning performance.
After a 1h 45m liaison section, Al-Attiyah headed to the final stage, which was due to finish near the endurance horse stables at Al Lisaili, 45km from the DIMC.
The Qatari found himself starting the last section five minutes ahead of his nearest rival, courtesy of the fact that this was the second section of a leg and he would be able to use that to his full advantage, provided that he did not make a navigational mistake.
By the 45km point, he was already 1m 18s in front of overall leader Peterhansel and had taken 20 seconds out of Sainz’s 28-second hold on second position. At the passage control the Qatari had taken a 20-second lead over the Spaniard, heading into the final kilometres.
It was full steam ahead for the X-raid driver, but when the leading quartet reached the 128km point, 35km from the finish, Al-Attiyah was not running as the first car on the stage. That privilege had fallen to overall leader Peterhansel.
Al-Attiyah had lost over 10 minutes with electrical problems and ruined his chance of taking second overall. Sainz was also delayed for good measure, but the Qatari’s quest for second position was over. Bad luck turned even worse near the finish when he stopped again with electrical trouble.
The X-raid team will now take away vital data from this important event in the UAE and put it to good use in final preparations for the Dakar Rally, which starts in Lisbon on Saturday, January 5th and finishes in Dakar on Sunday, January, 20th.
2007 UAE Desert Challenge –positions on SS5 (unofficial):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3CC 1h 01m 46s
2. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 1h 03m 33s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero 1h 04m 28s
4. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 1h 04m 32s
5. José-Luis Monterde (E)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Schlesser Buggy 1h 09m 16s
9. Paulo Nobre (BR)/Filipe Palmeiro (BR) BMW X3 CC 1h 16m 34s
2007 UAE Desert Challenge –positions on SS6 (unofficial):
1. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 1h 35m 13s
2. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero 1h 36m 54s
3. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 1h 39m 01s
4. Leonid Nouitsky (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) Mitsubishi 1h 50m 16s
5. Paulo Nobre (BR)/Filipe Palmeiro (BR) BMW X3 CC 1h 56m 11s
2007 UAE Desert Challenge – overall positions after leg 5 (unofficial):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero 17h 26m 36s
2. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 17h 38m 32s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 17h 55m 11s
4. Leonid Nouitsky (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) Mitsubishi 21h 22m 43s
5. Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khalid Bin Kendi (UAE) Liberty Chevrolet 22h 04m 22s
6. Nicolas Gibon (F)/Bruno Catterelli (F) Toyota 22h 14m 13s
7. Balasz Szalai (H)Lazslo Buncokzi (H) Opel 22h 24m 14s
8. Jun Mitsuhashi (J)/Akira Miura (J) Toyota 23h 00m 20s
10. Paulo Nobre (BR)/Filipe Palmeiro (BR) BMW X3 CC 27h 55m 11s
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.