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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: X-Raid confident of CER success

The AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team is looking forward to the start of next week’s Central Europe Rally, after French drivers Guerlain Chicherit and Bruno Saby clocked up around 400km of gravel testing over two days in the Veszprem region of Hungary last week. Chicherit and Saby teamed up with French co-driver Alain Guehennec to carry out a vital pre-event shakedown and also managed to try out some new brake components on the varied gravel stages around Veszprem.

"It was a useful and very enjoyable test," said X-raid team director Sven Quandt. "The Hungarian people made us feel very welcome and we were pleased with the test. There were no problems to report, everything was in order."

Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel and Saby and Guehennec will be joined by Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner in three BMW X3CCs at the start of the ASO-organised Central Europe Rally in Budapest on Sunday. Quandt is confident that the team will be on the pace of fierce rivals from the Mitsubishi and Volkswagen factory teams.

Volkswagen have also tested in Hungary recently, while Mitsubishi will debut the new diesel-engined MPR14 version of the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution. "We know we have a very competitive package now with the X3CC," added Quandt. "But it will not be easy to win the Central Europe Rally for two main factors. Top cars will not necessarily start at the front on each stage and this will make it very difficult to overtake slower cars.

"Secondly, the stages in Romania are likely to be very narrow and potentially very muddy. If the rally took place just on the roads around Veszprem where we tested, I would say we would have a great chance of taking the win."

In fact, the ASO have been forced to modify the seven-day route for the inaugural Central Europe Rally, because Romania has been blanketed by heavy snow falls at altitudes over 1000 metres in the region around the mining town of Baia Mare to the north, near the border with Ukraine.

The Central Europe Rally will reach a conclusion near the shores of Lake Balaton on Saturday, April 26th, although the X-raid team faces the challenge of seven days’ competition between Budapest, Baia Mare, Debrecen, Veszprem and Balaton before reaching the finish.

Central Europe Rally - X-raid team entries

Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC
Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC
Bruno Saby (F)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC

2008/04/18 | 04:10 CET | Editor: MR/HS/X-Raid

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