CC Al Attiyah rises to fourth position in Central Europe Rally


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

Dakar Series, round 1


Leg 4: Debrecen – Veszprém: liaison, 213 km; special, 62 km; liaison, 201 km; liaison 5km; special, 88 km; liaison, 110 km; total, 580 km.


For immediate release

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008





Qatar X-raid star second fastest overall on day three for X-Raid

Rivals trim overall leader Peterhansel’s advantage into Veszprém




VESZPRĖM (Hungary): Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner set the second fastest time on the 580km fourth leg of the Central Europe Rally between Debrecen and Veszprém in Hungary on Wednesday and moved up from seventh to fourth in the overall classification.


The AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team duo were in superb form over the closing kilometres to prove the competitiveness of their BMW X3 CC and set up the prospect of a thrilling final three days to the first round of the Dakar Series. Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel secured a 1m 44s overall lead over South African Giniel de Villiers in the overall classification, although Al-Attiyah is now a mere 3m 35s behind the leader and was fastest of all the drivers on the second stage.


The French duo of Bruno Saby and Alain Guehennec were classified 10th overall in their Trebur-built BMW X3 CC and team mates Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel rose to 50th place after setting the third fastest time on the second section of the leg and seventh on the combined stage.


Today’s section featured a liaison to the town of Dabas, via Kenderes and Cegled, and then a re-run of the opening selective section of the event run in the opposite direction. Sandy surfaces and bumpy terrain were prevalent once again, before teams tackled a second liaison section and an 88km special in the direction of the leg finish at a military base in Veszprém.


Al-Attiyah began the day in seventh position on the road and finished the opening section in fifth, although the special was not long enough to enable the Qatari to make up the 1m 56s by which he trailed American Robbie Gordon in the overall classification. He maintained seventh overall.


The French duo of Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel were permitted to start the first section just behind the leading pack in 13th position, although Wednesday morning’s problems meant that they were classified 59th in the general classification. The Frenchman was 11th fastest on the opening stage in a time of 43m 22s, with Saby in 13th.


“No problems for us on the first stage,” admitted X-raid team director Sven Quandt. “It started to rain mid-way through the special and it was slippery, but it was too short for our drivers to make a move on the leader board. The second special this afternoon was critical for us, because it was better suited to Robbie Gordon’s car than the traditional cross-country vehicles.”


Al-Attiyah set the pace through the second 88km special on Wednesday evening for X-raid to win the combined fourth leg for the AlgoDyne Green Racing Team, although Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel maintained his overall advantage in the general classification. Chicherit and Saby were third and 13th for the X-raid Team on the second timed test.


Tomorrow (Thursday) competitors will tackle two special stages in the area around Veszprém. A short 11km liaison will take the X-raid team to the start of a 157km competitive section to the north of Lake Balaton and another short liaison guides crews to a 54km selective near to the city where teams can expect much drier and warmer conditions than the previous day.


The Central Europe Rally will reach a conclusion near the shores of the lake on Saturday.


2008 Central Europe Rally – positions on SS4 section 1 (unofficial):

1. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg           39m 34s

2. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Touareg            39m 38s

3. Robby Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer                                39m 46s

4. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg                   40m 11s

5. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC            40m 25s

6. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution          40m 51s


2008 Central Europe Rally – positions on SS4 section 2 (unofficial):

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC              56m 31s

2. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg                         56m 39s

3. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC                       58m 19s

4. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg         58m 45s

5. BJ Baldwin (USA)/Kevin Heath (USA) Hummer                                       58m 46s

6. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero  Evolution                              59m 35s

7. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution             59m 57s

8. Joan Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution                          59m 59s

13. Bruno Saby (F)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC                                       1h 03m 34s


2008 Central Europe Rally – overall positions after leg 4 (unofficial):

1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution             5h 10m 35s

2. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg             5h 12m 19s

3. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Touareg                     5h 12m 36s

4. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC                 5h 14m 10s

5.Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg                                     5h 14m 29s

6. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero  Evolution                             5h 14m 59s

7. Joan Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution                          5h 15m 28s

8. Robby Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer                              5h 17m 40s

9. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg                 5h 28m 03s

10. Bruno Saby (F)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC                               5h 36m 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: y.theisen@x-raid.de.


Date issued: 23/04/2008

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