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Hungarian Baja 2008 Special-Newssection (FIA Baja Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Hungarian Baja 2008, 4th round of the FIA Worldcup for International Bajas. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Hungarian Baja: Al Attiyah to be joined by Chicherit and Novitsky.

X-Raid has officially entered three BMW X3CCs in the Hungarian Baja, round four of the FIA Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, which is based at Balatonfüred on the shores of Lake Balaton and takes place on August 22nd-24th. Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner will be joined in the X-raid line-up by the French duo of Guerlain Chicherit and co-driver Matthieu Baumel and the X-raid Russia pairing of Leonid Novitskiy and Oleg Tyupenkin.

The Hungarian event is running for the fifth year but is a round of the FIA Baja Cup for the first time. Victory over similar terrain to that used by the ASO's Central Europe Rally in April would guarantee that Doha-based Al-Attiyah clinched the FIA Cup for the first time with his fourth successive win of the campaign.

"There is talk that the Baja GB will not run this year, so winning the Baja Hungary would give me the title with one round remaining," enthused Al-Attiyah. "I really enjoy this form of rallying, more so than the WRC and rallying back in the Middle East. The stages are longer and more challenging and I would like to win all the rounds of the championship. The team is working really hard and the car is fantastic."

Al-Attiyah was victorious in Saudi Arabia, Italy and Spain, although the Qatari's team mate Chicherit will be looking for his first victory for the Trebur-based X-raid team. The Frenchman is a former stage winner in the Dakar Rally and set some competitive times in the Central Europe Rally, but earlier problems dropped him to 17th at the finish.

Novitskiy and Tyupenkin were fourth overall in the recent Baja Spain Aragon and are relishing the prospect of tackling the Hungarian stages with X-raid. Al-Attiyah's closest championship rival is the Russian Boris Gadasin and a good performance by Novitskiy would place added pressure on Gadasin in his uphill quest to catch Al-Attiyah and prevent X-raid from taking the title.

Last year's Baja Hungary ran as a candidate event and was won by the Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal, who also went on to win the Baja GB. He leads a strong challenge from many other leading European drivers in Hungary.

"We showed in the recent Baja Spain that the improvements we have made in recent months are beginning to take effect," said X-raid team director Sven Quandt. "We have been in the shadow of Mitsubishi for five years, but we beat them fair and square in an equal fight in Spain. Our team was competitive in the Central Europe Rally and we are confident that we can win again in Hungary and continue to make improvements and progress before Dakar 2009."

The Hungarian Baja is run by the Garzone Racing Organisation and will be based at Balatonfüred, the finish location for the Central Europe Rally. The ceremonial start will take place at 17.00hrs on Friday, August 22nd at the Balatonfüred Tagore walkway in the centre of the popular tourist resort on Lake Balaton. A short liaison section will then take the X-raid teams to Jutaspuszta for service and a short super special stage.

Two legs of selective sections will then take place in the area around Jutaspuszta and Újmajor on Saturday, August 23rd and Sunday, August 24th. There will be six short selective sections on Saturday, starting with a short 50km run.

The longest section of the event near Hajmáskér will be a 120km run on Sunday morning, which will be followed by the eighth and final section of around 65km. The finish will take place on the Tagore walkway at 15.00hrs on Sunday afternoon.

2008/08/12 | 15:10 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Neil Perkins/X-Raid

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