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Dakar 2009: Successful test for X-Raid´s Kuipers and Van Merksteijn.

In the weekend of December 13th and 14th, Peter van Merksteijn and René Kuipers tested on the Van Merksteijn Motorsport test track of 400hectare near the German Village Fürstenau the BMW X3CC with which they will start in the Dakar Rally 2009 on January 3rd. Under the supervision of BMW X-Raid driver Nasser Al-Attiyah and Gerard Seesing of Reiger Suspension many kilometers were made in the cars providing the two Dutch Dakar drivers with lots of valuable experience.

The official BMW factory team of X-Raid was in Fürstenau with 4 X3CC Dakar cars for a final shakedown before the cars will be transported to Buenos Aires later this week. Top driver for X-Raid and challenging for the victory Nasser Al-Attiyah tested his BMW X3CC with start number 302 extensively on Saturday. Despite the fact that the ground was hard from a couple of night's frost, the driver from Qatar was able to make several good runs and is ready for the start of the Dakar Rally.

René Kuipers drove with the BMW X3CC on both days of the test weekend. After a thorough explanation of the car, René made his first kilometers in the car on the rough part of the test range to learn about the handling of the car. "It's hard work to drive this car. Left foot braking is very important to keep the car well balanced while making the jumps but this is fantastic" René reacted enthusiastic. "The feeling I have with the car is good and I am looking forward to the start of the rally" according to René who entered in 2006 in the Dakar Rally on a motorcycle.

Peter van Merksteijn conducted a series of tests on Sunday to familiarize himself with the BMW X3CC. In the morning he drove several times on the rougher and technical part of the test range in Fürstenau. The focus of these tests was to practice driving on uneven terrain and how te take the many jumps with the car. The afternoon was used to test the car on the fast and smooth sand in the quarry on the test site. "The car feels very good. The car is very strong and unbelievable what punishment it can resist" said Peter afterwards. "After my victory in the 24 hours of Le Mans earlier this year another long-time wish of mine comes true with the participation in the Dakar Rally. With the BMW X3CC we can compete with the big names in the front of the field but my goal is to finish the rally and I'll see the where I am in the ranking."

The Dakar Rally starts on January 3rd 2009 in the capital of Argentina Buenos Aires to finish there again on January 17th after almost 10.000km. Peter van Merksteijn will drive the BMW X3CC with number 318 and René Kuipers will drive the car with number 330.

2008/12/17 | 12:55 CET | Editor: MR/HS/GVS Bild

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