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CC Al Attiyah and BMW clinch stunning Italian Baja win

X-RAID TEAM NEWS

ITALIAN BAJA (March 14th-16th, 2008)

2008 FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round 2 of 6

 

For immediate release

Monday, March 17th, 2008

 

NASSER AL-ATTIYAH WINS ITALIAN BAJA FOR

ALGODYNE GREEN POWER RACING TEAM

 

 

Al-Attiyah takes second successive Baja win for X-raid

X-raid Team forms partnership with colinmcraesport

 

 

 

CORDENONS (Italy): Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner extended their outright lead in the 2008 FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas by winning a dramatic Italian Baja in northern Italy on Sunday.

 

At the wheel of the AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team BMW X3CC, Al-Attiyah was fastest on every selective section after incurring a four-minute time penalty for clocking in to a time control early after the opening Prologue stage in the province of Pordenone on Friday afternoon.

 

Russian arch rival Boris Gadasin, who had shadowed the Qatari to the finish of the Saudi Arabian Hail Baja last month, set the fastest time in the opening super special stage, as Al-Attiyah’s time penalty pushed him down to 46th overall. A technical problem made matters worse for the BMW driver and meant that he began the longer selective sections over the weekend, 9m 10s behind the leading Nissan Navara.

 

Al-Attiyah was permitted to start in second position behind Gadasin on safety grounds for the first of the longer selective sections on Saturday morning. The route crossed tricky and varied terrain on the Taglaimento river bed, running across the glacial flood plain of the Alpine mountain range in northern Italy.

 

Al-Attiyah duly set the fastest time, 2m 39s ahead of the Russian to climb to 15th overall. The third selective was cancelled, but Al-Attiyah clawed a further 67 seconds back in the fourth section and found himself in second position overall.

 

The reigning FIA Middle East rally champion was again fastest by 1m 38s on the last selective on Saturday afternoon and headed into the final day 3m 46s behind the Russian and well clear of the third-placed Dutchman Tonni van Deijne in his Mitsubishi L200.

 

There were two 63.31km selective sections on Sunday, in which the Qatari had to push hard to edge ahead of his Russian rival. He beat the Nissan driver by 1m 46s in the first one to set up a dramatic showdown over the final kilometres where he needed to overturn a two-minute deficit.

 

The BMW X3CC never missed a beat over those closing kilometres and a sensational run by Al-Attiyah was rewarded by beating the Russian by 2m 33s to claim a stunning second successive international victory for the X-raid team and the BMW X3CC.

 

Nasser had started the last section behind his rival and was able to overtake the Nissan near the finish when Gadasin missed a vital braking point and was forced to run wide, only to watch as a triumphant Al-Attiyah sneaked through to take a dramatic victory.

 

“It was always going to be difficult to win after the time lost on Friday, but I decided to give it my best shot,” said a delighted Al-Attiyah. “The car was superb and we managed to set the fastest time on every selective. It was a great result for X-raid and one that gives Tina and I a good lead in the Baja Championship.”

 

“This was another fantastic result for our team,” admitted team director Sven Quandt. “Nasser was given a four-minute penalty on Friday evening for arriving early at the time control, but he managed to regain all that time over the next two days by winning every selective section. It was a terrific performance by Nasser and Tina, a very exciting finish and puts the team in a very strong position in the championship.”

 

Meanwhile, the X-raid team have confirmed a partnership with colinmcrae sport, whereby all the team’s registered drivers and co-drivers will continue to use Colin McRae insulated racing footwear throughout the season.

 

The technology of the footwear focuses on insulating the feet from the heat build-up around the pedals, which can reach 170 degrees Centigrade. Tests run at a research lab in Portugal proved that the boots are on average 10% cooler than the competition. A polyurethane dual-cushioning system also increases comfort, which is crucial on some of the longer distance endurance rallies, such as the Dakar or the UAE Desert Challenge.

 

“Our team drivers are very happy with the new footwear and the difference the shoes make in terms of comfort and safety,” added Quandt. “It’s amazing how heat can gather in the foot well of a competition car.”

 

Colinmcraesport was established in July 2006 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and was named after the 1995 FIA World Rally Champion who had signed for the X-raid team shortly before losing his life in a tragic helicopter crash last September.

 

Team drivers Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, Guerlain Chicherit and Bruno Saby will team up with co-drivers Tina Thörner, Matthieu Baumel and Alain Guehennec in next month’s Central Europe Rally across Hungary and Romania.

 

Sven Quandt has also confirmed that Al-Attiyah and Thörner will tackle the Baja Spain, round three of the FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, on July 17th-20th.

 

2008 Italian Baja – final positions

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3CC   3h 29m 07s

2. Boris Gadasin (RUS)/Sergey Talantsev (RUS) Nissan Pick-Up 3h 29m 40s

3. Tonni Van Deijne (NL)/Wouter Rosegaar (NL) Mitsubishi L200 3h 36m 14s

4. Laszlo Palik (H)/Gabor Daraszin (H) Nissan D40 3h 47m 26s

5. Balazs Szalay (H)/Laszlo Bunkoczin (H) Opel Antara RR 3h 49m 52s

6. Janis Naglis (LET)/Janis Naglis (LET) Mitsubishi Pajero 3h 51m 09s

7. Miroslav Zapletal (CZ)/Miloslav Janacek (CZ) BMW X5 3h 54m 05s

8. Zdenek Porizek (CZ)/Marek Sykora (CZ) Mitsubishi Pajero 3h 59m 06s

9. Sandor Kis (H)/Peter Czegledin (H) Autopot Evo VI 3h 59m 28s

10. Yehoshya Shmoni (ISL)/Aviv Spektor (ISL) Mitsubishi 4h 01m 31s

 

2008 FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas – positions after round 2 (unofficial)

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)      30 pts

2. Boris Gadasin (RUS)                   24 pts, etc

 

Ends

 

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: y.theisen@x-raid.de.

 

Date issued: 17/03/2008

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