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OiLibya Rally 2009 Special-Newssection (FIA Cross Country Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the OiLibya Rally 2009, second round of the FIA Worldcup for Cross Country Rallys. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

OiLibya Rally: Terranova and Novitskiy in front of Misslin after SS3

The X-raid team held first, second and sixth places after the third leg of the 11-day OiLibya Tunisia Rally between Oued Mellah and Ras El Oued in Tunisia on Friday. Argentinean driver Orlando Terranova had begun the varied day with a 61-second advantage over his X-raid Russia team-mate Leonid Novitskiy. The Mendoza-based BMW X3 CC driver eventually finished the 356km selective section in first position and extended his overall lead to an unofficial 1m 40s.

Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit started the day in warm, sunny conditions from fifth in the overall rankings behind Frenchman Nicolas Misslin and Team Dessoude's Christian Laveille. But he lost valuable time in the stage and slipped to sixth overall at the end of the first three Tunisian stages. Terranova's success meant that X-raid drivers had won each of the first three timed sections of the longest of the FIA World Cup rounds in their BMW X3 CCs.

"It has been a good start for us over the first three days, but the real meat of this rally and the major tests are to come in the next few stages in Libya," said team director Sven Quandt. "Guerlain was the first on the road on the second day and was requested to take a wrong route, but our other drivers have started very well."

The competitive action got underway on Wednesday afternoon with a five-kilometre super special stage on the sand at Gammarth, near Tunis, and Chicherit immediately laid down the gauntlet to his rivals with the fastest time of 3m 39s. It was sufficient to give the Frenchman a lead of 10 seconds over Novitskiy, with the Buggy of Pascal Thomasse in third position. Terranova held five.

"I know it was only the start, but the result of the super special gave me confidence," admitted Chicherit, the winner of the recent Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Thursday's second 216km selective section passed between Le Kef and Sidi Boubaker to the south of Tunis, but Chicherit lost his overall lead to Terranova, who set the fastest time on the stage.

The Argentinean finished the modified and shortened 60km competitive section ahead of Novitskiy and third-placed Frenchman Nicolas Misslin and found himself in an overall lead of 1m 01s. Chicherit lost time when he was forced to stop on two occasions on the modified route, which was changed to avoid passing through a field.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the event crosses the border into Libya. The day's route of 582km includes 288km of competition between Ras El Oued and Dehibat and a long liaison section to the bivouac in Deri. In a total route of 4,297km, there are over 3,100 proposed competitive kilometres with the on-stage action set to reach a conclusion in Tozeur on Saturday, May 2nd.

2009/04/24 | 19:49 CET | Article: MR/HS/Neil Perkins

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