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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´s Al Attiyah surges into sixth place overall.

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner leapt up the overall leaderboard for the AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team after two further selective sections of the Central Europe Rally that looped to the north-east of Baia Mare in northern Romania on Monday. They surged up from 13th to sixth overall after day two of the opening round of the new Dakar Series through the Carpathian mountains and set the fastest time on the shortened second 36km loop stage to confirm second position on the combined Monday runs.

French X-raid team mates Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel had looked set for a top six position in the general classification in their Trebur-built BMW X3CC, but hit trouble on the second loop stage when they struck something in the stage and damaged a suspension arm.

Al-Attiyah began the day in 13th position in the overall standings and in a similar position on the road, but the Qatari was in tremendous form over the early kilometres. He was the fastest of all the crews through the first passage control, despite running behind many of his rivals on the narrow track, which ran at altitude, where cooler temperatures were prevalent, it was muddy and patches of melting snow lay on the sides of the sinous route.

Al-Attiyah was eight seconds quicker than Germany’s Dieter Depping at the split, while Chicherit was running seventh on the road after starting the day in 11th place. Bruno Saby and Alain Guehennec lost five minutes with visibility problems in the cool conditions and were running down in 27th position.

Over the closing kilometres of the first stage, Peterhansel managed to edge the fastest time, closely followed by Depping, Luc Alphand and fourth-placed Al-Attiyah. Chicherit finished in fifth position, 18 seconds ahead of Spaniard Joan Roma and just under a minute in front of overnight leader Carlos Sainz. Both the X-raid drivers had catapulted themselves into sixth and seventh in the overall standings, while Saby was classified in ninth at the end of the special and moved up to 12th overall.

"It was a much better morning for us and I was very pleased with the pace that Nasser, Bruno and Guerlain showed over the stage," said X-raid team director Sven Quandt. "Bruno lost some time with a misting windscreen in the early kilometres, but we didn’t have to put a spanner on the cars at service, save for changing tyres, and I was confident of a good performance on the second run this afternoon."

The second loop was shortened to 36km and Al-Attiyah set the quickest time of 24m 56s, as Frenchman Peterhansel took a slender 22s overnight lead over Depping into day three. Saby set the 11th fastest time and held a similar position at the end of the leg in Baia Mare.

"Nasser set a great time on the last stage and that was much better for us," added Quandt. "It is a pity they shortened the stage, because he would have set the fastest time. Now he starts second on Tuesday behind Depping and that is an ideal position for us."

2008/04/21 | 22:28 CET | Editor: MR/HS/X-Raid

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