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CC Nasser Al Attiyah surges into sixth in Central Europe Rally

X-RAID TEAM NEWS

CENTRAL EUROPE RALLY (April 19th-26th, 2008)

Dakar Series, round 1

 

Leg 2: Baia Mare, Romania – Baia Mare, Romania: liaison, 40 km; special, 76 km; liaison, 70 km; special, 76 km (shortened to 36km); liaison, 30 km; total, 292 km.

 

For immediate release

Monday, April 21st, 2008

 

X-RAID’S AL-ATTIYAH SURGES INTO SIXTH

PLACE AFTER PAIR OF BAIA MARE STAGES

 

 

  • Qatar’s Al-Attiyah sets fastest time on second loop stage
  • Bruno Saby fights back after windscreen visibility problem
  • Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel takes slender day two lead

BAIA MARE (Romania): Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner leapt up the overall leaderboard for the AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team after two further selective sections of the Central Europe Rally that looped to the north-east of Baia Mare in northern Romania on Monday.

 

They surged up from 13th to sixth overall after day two of the opening round of the new Dakar Series through the Carpathian mountains and set the fastest time on the shortened second 36km loop stage to confirm second position on the combined Monday runs.

 

French X-raid team mates Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel had looked set for a top six position in the general classification in their Trebur-built BMW X3CC, but hit trouble on the second loop stage when they struck something in the stage and damaged a suspension arm.

 

Al-Attiyah began the day in 13th position in the overall standings and in a similar position on the road, but the Qatari was in tremendous form over the early kilometres. He was the fastest of all the crews through the first passage control, despite running behind many of his rivals on the narrow track, which ran at altitude, where cooler temperatures were prevalent, it was muddy and patches of melting snow lay on the sides of the sinous route.

 

Al-Attiyah was eight seconds quicker than Germany’s Dieter Depping at the split, while Chicherit was running seventh on the road after starting the day in 11th place. Bruno Saby and Alain Guehennec lost five minutes with visibility problems in the cool conditions and were running down in 27th position.

 

Over the closing kilometres of the first stage, Peterhansel managed to edge the fastest time, closely followed by Depping, Luc Alphand and fourth-placed Al-Attiyah. Chicherit finished in fifth position, 18 seconds ahead of Spaniard Joan Roma and just under a minute in front of overnight leader Carlos Sainz. Both the X-raid drivers had catapulted themselves into sixth and seventh in the overall standings, while Saby was classified in ninth at the end of the special and moved up to 12th overall.

 

“It was a much better morning for us and I was very pleased with the pace that Nasser, Bruno and Guerlain showed over the stage,” said X-raid team director Sven Quandt.

 

“Bruno lost some time with a misting windscreen in the early kilometres, but we didn’t have to put a spanner on the cars at service, save for changing tyres, and I was confident of a good performance on the second run this afternoon.”

 

The second loop was shortened to 36km and Al-Attiyah set the quickest time of 24m 56s, as Frenchman Peterhansel took a slender 22s overnight lead over Depping into day three. Saby set the 11th fastest time and held a similar position at the end of the leg in Baia Mare.

 

“Nasser set a great time on the last stage and that was much better for us,” added Quandt. “It is a pity they shortened the stage, because he would have set the fastest time. Now he starts second on Tuesday behind Depping and that is an ideal position for us.”

 

Tomorrow (Tuesday) teams will leave Baia Mare and head back towards Hungary and the city of Debrecen, after two repeat runs through Monday’s 76km selective section to the north-east of Baia Mare. Teams will then pass through the town of Satu Mare en route to the border and then complete the 227km liaison section to the overnight halt.

 

Debrecen is the second largest city in Hungary is located on the Great Hungarian Plain and is the capital of the Hajdu-Bihar region. It is rapidly becoming an important transport hub, because of its close proximity to Romania and the Ukraine.

 

The Central Europe Rally will reach a conclusion near the shores of Lake Balaton on Saturday, April 26th.

 

2008 Central Europe Rally – positions on SS2 section 1 (unofficial):

1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution      59m 12s

2. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Touareg                      59m 17s

3. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero  Evolution                      59m 39s

4. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC                 1h 00m 04s

5. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC            1h 00m 21s

9. Bruno Saby (F)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC               1h 02m 51s

10. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg                 1h 03m 07s

 

2008 Central Europe Rally – positions on SS2 section 2 (unofficial):

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC                 24m 56s

2. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Touareg                         25m 08s

3.Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg                               25m 10s

4. Robby Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer                                     25m 35s

5. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero  Evolution                       25m 39s

6. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg             25m 40s

7. Joan Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution                25m 50s

8. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution      25m 54s

9. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg                         26m 12s

10. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Pascal Maimon (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution             26m 17s

11. Bruno Saby (F)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC                                      26m 18s

 

2008 Central Europe Rally – overall positions after leg 2 (unoffiial):

1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution     2h 06m 04s

2.Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg                                     2h 06m 26s

3. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Touareg                         2h 06m 33s

4. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero  Evolution                        2h 07m 35s

5. Joan Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution                  2h 08m 46s

6. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC                 2h 09m 15s

7. Robby Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer                                         2h 10m 07s

8. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg                         2h 10m 54s

9. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg             2h 11m 18s

10. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Pascal Maimon (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution             2h 11m 31s

11. Bruno Saby (F)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC                                2h 14m 25s

 

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: 21/04/2008

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