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Dakar 2010: X-Raid fields four BMW X3CC in 2010 Edition.

Team X-raid GmbH will field three BMW X3 CCs in the 2010 Dakar Rally, with X-raid Russia entering a fourth car with support from the Trebur-based operation. Nine-time former winner Stéphane Peterhansel (six times on a bike and three in a car) and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret spearhead the team’s challenge for honours in the world’s most demanding off-road rally, which starts in Buenos Aires on Friday, January 1st, returns to the city on Saturday, January 16thand finishes officially in the Argentine capital on Sunday, January 17th.

The winners of the event on four wheels in 2004, 2005 and 2007 won the recent Rally of Morocco and are joined by Catalunyan Joan ‘Nani’ Roma and his triple Dakar-winning co-driver Michel Périn. Both Roma and Peterhansel joined Sven Quandt’s X-raid team mid-way through the 2009 season. Roma won the race on a motorcycle in 2004, while Périn was victorious in 1994, 1995 and 1996 with Frenchman Pierre Lartigue and led this year’s event for several days with a rival team.

Completing the official X-raid team line-up are the defending FIA World Cup champions, Guerlain Chicherit and Tina Thörner, who won the prestigious Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and Transiberico events this season. Chicherit is one of the most improved drivers on the world stage. His experienced Swedish co-driver led the Dakar outright through southern Argentina in 2009, before falling foul of a technical ruling after being delayed by mechanical problems.

Twice-winning co-driver Andreas Schulz (2001 and 2003) partnered Russia’s Leonid Novitskiy for the first time to finish second overall in the recent Rally of Morocco and the pair team up together in the X-raid Russia entry to complete the official BMW line-up for the 16-day, 9,030 km event.

X-raid has enjoyed another successful season of cross-country racing in 2009, with Chicherit’s maiden FIA World Cup award following a superb double of the Baja and FIA World Cup titles for the team in 2008.

Outright victories were earned in the UAE, Tunisia, Morocco, Spain and Portugal this season and Quandt is optimistic that recent testing in Morocco and attention to fine detail in terms of car set-up and reliability will boost competitiveness in January. Despite the global economic slowdown, the event has attracted 372 starters, comprising 184 motorcycles and quads, 50 trucks and 138 cars.

Quandt’s X-raid team were the early pacesetters in 2009 - when the rally crossed South America for the first time after 29 seasons on the African Dark Continent - but the German team faces a fierce challenge from Volkswagen Motorsport, who will be aiming to retain their title for a second year.

Defending drivers’ champion, Giniel de Villiers, twice WRC champion Carlos Sainz and X-raid’s former FIA World Cup and Baja Cup winner, Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, head the Volkswagen challenge. Other potential rivals include America’s Robbie Gordon in a powerful Hummer and Portugal’s Carlos Sousa and Argentina’s former X-raid driver Orlando Terranova in two of four Mitsubishis entered by a new French private team.

Team X-raid GmbH claimed one FIA World Cup title with the BMW X5 Rallye Raid in 2004 before switching to the intense development of the slightly smaller BMW X3 CC, which has continued to achieve considerable success for the Trebur-based team in global cross-country rallying.

The X3 CC is powered by a six-cylinder, three-litre variable twin-turbo diesel engine, which produces around 290 bhp @ 4,000 rpm and an impressive 650 Nm of torque. The team claims a top speed of 182 km/h, although this is largely irrelevant on events of the nature of the Dakar in South America. Power is transmitted to the four driving wheels by a Sadev six-speed sequential transmission, an AP Racing metallic clutch and X-trac differentials.

The Heggemann space frame chassis is fitted with a carbon-kevlar body for strength and durability and a Heggemann front subframe. AP Racing six-piston brakes are fitted to the front and rear and the X3 CC benefits from Reiger front and rear independent suspension and racing dampers with 250mm of travel. The car has a length of 4.650 mm, an empty weight of 1,850 kg and a wheelbase of 2,850 mm. It is also fitted with a Heggemann safety roll cage, Lifeline fire extinguisher system, a 420-litre FT3 safety fuel tank and a Reiger hydraulic on-board jack system.

2009/12/10 | 15:36 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Thomas Quandt

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