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Central Europe Rally Special-Newssection (1st round Dakar-Series 2008)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Central Europe Rally 2008, the first round of the new Dakar-Series. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Central Europe Rally: Carlos Sainz wins first leg of stage 6

The rally participants today had to race on known grounds. The track is exactly the same one as yesterday and consists again of two legs that will be driven in the same direction as on the day before. While this makes logistics easy and ensures a comfortable hotel night for most of the drivers and organization it makes the drastic difference between the Dakar Series and the original Dakar evident. On the African version one of the main - if not the central one - challenges are the incredibly long stages. No matter if is only a transfer stage for the organization and team members or a racing stage for the participants, it is common that the crews hardly arrive earlier at the camps than the participants.

Aside to these striking difference some parts remain the same. French is still the language of choice at the camps though the importance of English has increased significantly for everyone. The racing part of the event is where things start to get familiar again. So it was no surprise that the main battles during the first leg of todays race have been fought between well known teams like Sainz/Perin, Peterhansel/Cottret, Chicherit/Baumel, Alphand/Picard, Depping/Gottschalk and Gordon/Grider. Sainz was able to finish today 28 seconds faster than Peterhansel and took the total lead with an advantage of less than 6 seconds on Peterhansel. However - as we know from yesterday many things still can change during the afternoon. Having come from a quite normal morning yesterday's second leg completely reshuffled the field and left many jaws wide open.

Robby Gordon, who managed to remove one of his wheels yesterday while hovering in full speed over the bumby slopes, is back into the race. Even without possibilities for a total victory he remains one of the crowds favourites. In a strong contrast to the untouchable and corporately professional very "German" team from Volkswagen and the well experienced Mitsubishi crew Robbies and B.J.'s team lives what it stands for. With their Monster Energy drink logo on the black shirts almost every team members airs a level of non-uniform screwd individualism that makes everyone curious and lets the Hungarian and international spectator realize that there is more here than just racing as a way of achieving materialized board targets. While this is true for many if not all of the professional and semi-professional drivers and teams who invest a lot of heart blood into the event the Hummer crew is possibly most actively broadcasting this way of racing by their sheer presence.

After a quick glance at the intermediate standings it becomes clear that at the moment only four cars have realistic chances for a total victory. While the race has been on for more than 5 days now the top pack is still less than 5 minutes apart. The current lead is taken by Sainz, followed by Peterhansel (+ 6 seconds), Alphand (+ 4:58 minutes) and Depping (+ 5:01 minutes). Two times blue and two times red - everything is still open at the moment. The next follower is Sousa being 26 minutes behind.

2008/04/25 | 20:15 CET | Editor: MR/MR

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