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Dakar 2007: Al-Attiyah maintains fourth place on stage 12

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Alain Guehennec completed the 12th special stage of the 29th Dakar Rally between Ayoûn-el-Atroûs in Mauritania and Kayes in Mali in fourth position on Thursday. The Qatari maintains fourth in the overall standings. X-Raid’s protest against the 39-minute speeding penalty was eventually adjudged by the Stewards of the Meeting in Ayoûn-el-Atroûs. Quandt argued that there had been a six-day delay in imposing the time penalties and the team had changed their on-event strategy accordingly.

As it happened, Al-Attiyah was only 30 minutes behind Jean-Louis Schlesser at the start of the 12th stage and a podium position was dependent on the outcome of the Stewards’ meeting. He was seventh fastest through the first PC after leading the cars into the stage. Al-Attiyah managed to take 5m 21s out of Schlesser today to reduce the Frenchman’s lead to 24m 02s.

But Al-Attiyah’s protest against the 39-minute speeding penalty that had been imposed in Nema, six days after the offence had occurred, was rejected by the Stewards of the Meeting. The X-Raid Team planned to appeal against the decision and there is a fair chance that the results of the rally will be provisional on Sunday in Dakar as a result. "The race needs to go on and the goal is to reach Dakar," said Al-Attiyah. "The podium would be nice, but a finish is the most important thing now. I got lost today. We took the track to the right and lost several minutes. I gained some time on Schlesser, but it was not enough."

"We will appeal against the decision and, if necessary, take the appeal to an even higher level," confirmed X-Raid Director Sven Quandt. German Kleinschmidt and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner began the run across the border into the Republic of Mali in 14th overall. The 2001 event winner was 13th at PC1 and finished the stage in 11th place.

Spaniard José-Luis Monterde and Jean-Marie Lurquin held 16th overall at the start of the 12th leg of the 29th Dakar Rally. The Castellon driver was 17th at PC1 and 16th at the stage finish. Brazilian Paulo Nobre and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro had moved up to 43rd overall after the 10th special stage around Nema and were running 18th at the first PC this morning. Nobre completed the stage in 21st place and now lies 40th overall.

2007/01/19 | 14:22 CET | Editor: MR/X-Raid

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