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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: X-Raid set to field three BMW X3CC in Tunisia.

The X-raid team will run three cars in the 11-day OiLibya Tunisia Rally, which is the longest event in the FIA cross-country calendar with the exception of the world famous Dakar Rally. Competitive action gets underway with a timed super special stage at La Marsa, near Tunis, on Thursday (April 23rd) and finishes in Tozeur on Saturday, May 2nd.

The second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies has been expanded by the organising Neveu-Pelletier Organisation (NPO) and now features a total route of 4,297km. There are 3,274 proposed competitive kilometres in the time schedule in Tunisia and Libya. The Trebur-based X-raid team has entered a trio of BMW X3 CCs for Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit, Russian Leonid Novitskiy and Argentinean Orlando Terranova.

Chicherit is the current FIA World Cup leader and emphatically won last month's Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in his BMW X3 CC. Sweden's Tina Thörner will be his co-driver for a second time.

Oleg Tyupenkin will co-drive for Novitskiy in the X-raid Russian entry and Portugal's experienced Filipe Palmeiro sits alongside Terranova, who makes his return to the team for the first time since January's Dakar Rally in his native Argentina.

"We have entered three drivers of equal status in this round of the World Cup and the goal is to win again," said team director Sven Quandt. "My personal opinion is that the event is too long considering the current economic climate. We have discussed this matter with event organisers, with a view to the rally being reduced to between 2,000 and 3,000km next season.

"We know much of the terrain and many of the stages in Tunisia very well, but Libya is a different proposition. The western region of the country features few dune corridors and is mainly flat desert." Quandt confirms that three five-speed BMW X3 CCs have been entered in the North African classic, each fitted with BMW's latest RS08 diesel-turbo power plant.

Both Novitskiy's and Terranova's cars are the latest Dakar-specification models, while Chicherit's X3 is equipped with minor modifications following the recent Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and a test session in the UAE desert.

"It will be a long and difficult rally and it will not be easy to win," added Quandt. "Jean-Louis (Schlesser) has a new Buggy and this has a higher top speed than the BMW and that could be an advantage for him on the faster stages in Libya. Then we have a pair of MPR13s (Mitsubishi Pajero Evolutions), which will be run by Nicolas Misslin. He has access to a lot of the MMSP factory equipment and his team cannot be discounted."

The new-look OiLibya Tunisia Rally is the longest cross-country event in the FIA international calendar - with the exception of the Dakar Rally - and features a super special stage and 10 selective sections in Tunisia and Libya.

After technical scrutineering and documentation at Gammarth La Marsa in Tunis on Tuesday, April 21st and Wednesday, April 22nd, there will be a five-kilometre super special stage at La Marsa on Wednesday afternoon.

A 216km liaison takes teams from Tunis to the start of the desert action on Thursday, April 23rd. The opening competitive selective section of 250km passes between Le Kef and Sidi Boubaker, although teams will spend the night at Oued Mellah.

Friday's route of 365km includes a 356km section to Ras El Oued, before competitors cross the border into Libya on Saturday, April 25th. The day's route of 582km includes a competitive section of 288km between Ras El Oued and Dehibat and a liaison of 292km to the overnight halt at Derj.

Sunday, April 26th is the longest of the entire event - a 624km route, which includes a 563km opening section of the marathon stage into Oubari. The second half of the marathon stage - where service support is not permitted - offers a competitive route of 308km from Oubari to Sebha and a liaison of 110km returns teams to Brack for the overnight halt.

The route of 410km on Tuesday, April 28th includes a 397km selective section between Brack and Quaryat and the rally returns to Tunisia on Wednesday, April 29th. A 30km liaison joins Quaryat with Gharbiyah and the stage runs for 365km between Gharbiyah and Nalut.

The final three days of the gruelling event take place in Tunisia and start with a 275km selective section between Oueni and Ksar on Thursday, April 30th. The penultimate stage on Friday, May 1st heads from Ksar to the renowned Star Wars filming location in the Tunisian desert, near Tozeur, and includes a competitive section of 313km.

The final desert selective takes place on Saturday, May 2nd and includes a short 154km competitive trail between Chamsa and Nefta, before a 26km liaison guides the surviving teams to the finish celebrations and ceremonial podium in Tozeur.

OiLibya Tunisia Rally - X-raid entrants

Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Tina Thorner (S)
Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS)
Orlando Terranova (RA)/Filipe Palmeiro (P)

2009/04/21 | 13:58 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Neil Perkins

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