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Poor weather conditions hamper X-Raid team's progress on third leg

Poor weather conditions hamper X-Raid team's progress on third leg

23.04.2008: Poor weather conditions hamper X-Raid team's progress on third leg

CENTRAL EUROPE RALLY (April 19th-26th, 2008) Dakar Series, round 1

Leg 3: Baia Mare, Romania – Debrecen, Hungary: liaison, 30 km; special, 76 km; liaison, 70 km; special, 76 km (shortened to 36km); liaison, 227 km; total, 437 km.

• Al-Attiyah sets second fastest time on short stage

• Electrical problems cost Chicherit time in Baia Mare

Poor weather conditions hampered the AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team’s progress on the third leg of the Central Europe Rally between Baia Mare in Romania and the overnight halt at Debrecen in Hungary on Tuesday evening.

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner had begun the day in sixth position, but finished the leg in seventh. BMW X3 CC team mates Bruno Saby and Alain Guehennec sustained a puncture, but managed to climb a place to 10th in the unofficial overall standings.

Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel suffered electrical delays on the first stage and were unable to climb up the leader board after Monday’s accident, but were untroubled through the shorter second section and set the fifth fastest time, beating rally leader Stéphane Peterhansel into the bargain.

Torrential rain was a far cry from the dry, dusty conditions that had prevailed earlier in the week, as Germany’s Dieter Depping and X-raid’s Al-Attiyah were the first two drivers into the Baia Mare loop stage. The Qatari was plagued by windscreen misting problems and, like several of his rivals, dropped valuable time to the leaders and eventually finished the section in eighth.

Overnight leader Peterhansel edged further ahead of his main rivals in the overall standings by setting the second fastest time. South African Giniel de Villiers was fastest, but X-raid’s Saby sustained a costly puncture and the Grenoble driver found himself in 15th position at the finish.

Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel eventually finished the second leg down in 75th position after the suspension breakage that had marred their progress on the second loop. They were over four hours behind the leaders and also incurred a onehour time penalty, but were permitted to start the third leg 11th on the road, sandwiched between American Robbie Gordon and De Villiers. Chicherit hit electrical problems in the opening stage and finished in 65th position after dropping a further 40 minutes to the leaders.

"It was not possible to push this morning, because it was slippery and the windscreen misted over," said Al-Attiyah.

"The conditions were not ideal this morning for anyone," admitted X-raid team director Sven Quandt. "Nasser was not able to push and Bruno had a puncture, which cost him time. The heavy rain made it really difficult out there." The second stage was reduced to 36km because of the heavy rain and Depping, Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah led the car contingent into the muddy conditions, although the incessant rain abated during the afternoon.

All three X-raid cars emerged unscathed from the special and the X-raid team were delighted with Al-Attiyah’s second fastest time, a mere 15 seconds behind section winner Carlos Sainz. Frenchman Peterhansel was sixth, but retained a 2m 08s advantage in the overall classification.

"It was only a short stage, so there were no big time differences," admitted Quandt. "But we were quite happy with the way it went. Nasser had no problems with a misting windscreen and was again on a top pace. Several of the leading teams have had their fair share of problems, but we still have a long way to go. Tomorrow’s first stage should be better suited to our car, but the second one may well suit the Buggytype vehicles."

Tomorrow (Wednesday) teams leave Debrecen and head towards Veszprém for 150km of competitive action in a total route of 580km, which marks the longest section of the entire event. The route crosses Hungary in a westerly direction, before the X-raid team arrives at the overnight halt in the area where two days of pre-event testing was carried out.

Veszprém is one of the oldest towns in Hungary and is now a city, situated around 15km north of Lake Balaton. The Central Europe Rally will reach a conclusion near the shores of the lake on Saturday.

2008 Central Europe Rally – positions on SS3 section 1 (unofficial):

1. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 57m 51s

2. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 58m 26s

3. Joan Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 59m 09s

4. Robby Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer 59m 32s

5. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 59m 52s

6. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Touareg 1h 00m 36s

7. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 1h 02m 28s

8. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC 1h 03m 18s

15. Bruno Saby (F)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC 1h 07m 52s

65. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC 2h 01m 09s

 

2008 Central Europe Rally – positions on SS3 section 2 (unofficial):

1.Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 24m 26s

2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC 24m 41s

3. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Touareg 24m 46s

4. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 24m 51s

5. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC 25m 16s

6. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 25m 17s

7. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 25m 26s

8. Joan Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 25m 28s

9. Robby Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer 25m 41s

10. Bruno Saby (F)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC 26m 48s

 

2008 Central Europe Rally – overall positions after leg 3 (unofficial):

1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 3h 29m 47s

2. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 31m 55s

3. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 3h 32m 53s

4. Joan Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 3h 33m 23s

5. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 34m 00s

6. Robby Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer 3h 35m 20s

7. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC 3h 37m 14s

8.Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 37m 39s

9. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 42m 17s

10. Bruno Saby (F)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC 3h 49m 04s

 

- Yvette Theisen at X-raid GmbH-  photo by Willy Weyens

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/central-europe-rally-x-raid-team-algodyne-green-power-racing-nasser-al-attiyah-hungary---36265.html

23.04.2008 / MaP

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