|Baja Spain: Monster Energy X-raid Team holds the lead in the Baja Spain|
Following the second day of the Baja Spain, the Monster Energy X-raid Team seems to be heading for another success. With two special stages contested, French pairing Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul Cottret holds the overall lead in the fourth round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, with Dubai’s Khalifa Al Mutaiwei and his German navigator Andi Schulz holding third position, with their red Mini All4 Racing. While Mutaiwei’s toughest rival in the battle for the World Cup title, Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser, currently has to settle for holding eleventh place.
The event was kicked off on Friday with a 5.39-kilometre prologue and both Stéphane Peterhansel and Khalifa Al Mutaiwei made a successful start into the event. With a time of 5.13 minutes, Peterhansel took the lead, with his Mini All 4Racing - and Mutaiwei finished sixth.
Thanks to this successful start, Peterhansel had to act as pathfinder for the field as he was the first to start into the first special stage, close to Zaragoza. In addition, the Frenchman didn’t want to take too many risks, on the tight and slippery 202.35-kilometre special stage.
Consequently, he had finished second behind Vladimir Vasilyev despite having been the temporary leader, with his Mini All 4Racing. Khalifa Al Mutaiwei also delivered in great style. The driver from Dubai had been the sixth to driver to start into the special stage and at the 55-kilometre checkpoint, he even was the quickest. But later, he also opted for taking it easy and crossed the finish line in third position.
Following a short break, the teams raced the second special stage of the day. The 98.06-kilometre course took the field from Perdiguera to La Almolda near Zaragoza. In this special stage, Peterhansel proved to be the clearly quickest, with his green Mini All4 Racing. At the end of the day, he was more than three minutes quicker than Russian Vasilyev, thus re-gaining the overall lead. Al Mutaiwei drove the fourth fastest time and holds third position in the overall standings, prior to the third and final special stage that will be held tomorrow.
Tomorrow, on Sunday, the Mini All 4 Racing drivers will have to contest just one special stage. This special stage will be held on the same 202.35-kilometre track they already had to cope with today in special stage 1.
2012/07/22 | 19:27 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/X-RAID