|SA-Dakar Rally: Krzysztof Holowczyc - "On thursday everything was perfect".|
Team X-raid impressed again with a great team performance on thursday: With their Orlen Mini All4 Racing, Polish-Belgian pairing Krzysztof Holowczyc and Jean Marc Fortin won the stage, followed by Robby Gordon’s Hummer, with the positions 3 to 6 being secured by the other Mini All4 Racing cars.
For Holowczyc, it was the first Dakar special-stage win as X-raid driver. The Pole was among the front runners right from the start, took the lead with just a few more kilometres to go - and defended it until having crossed the finish line.
"I’m truly delighted with having won today," beamed the 49-year old. "Yesterday, I wasn’t too happy with my performance but thursday, everything was perfect."
Stéphane Peterhansel had to cope with a difficult task. Having won wednesday’s special stage, he was the first driver who had to go out thursday. A clear disadvantage in the dunes and the sand of Fiambala. But, they set the third-fastest time of the day and defended their overall lead.
"In addition, the motorbikes took another route and so I had absolutely nothing I could use as orientation - while the others had me," said Peterhansel. "Therefore, I’m absolutely happy with the result." After all, he still holds the overall lead, with Holowczyc and Roma following in second and third positions respectively.
Behind them, Nani Roma in the yellow Mini finished fourth daily. For the Spaniard and his navigator, Michel Périn, the special stage at Fiambala had a special significance. Here, an accident forced them into early retirement, two years ago.
"I’m really happy to be here," said Roma. "Due to the accident in 2010, I certainly was slightly more careful than usually but it was our top priority to survive the special stage."
Novitskiy and Dos Santos completed the outstanding team result of the X-raid Team. The Russian wasn’t too happy about the firm sand.
"I prefer driving on soft sand," he admitted. "Due to thursday’s conditions the special stage lost a part of its charm." The Portuguese pairing experienced a trouble-free special stage.
Chilean-French pairing Boris Garafulic / Gilles Picard also delivered in fine style and finished 17th, with their German team-mates Stephan Schott and Holm Schmidt coming 20th. "We once again took it easy today," said Schott. "Consequently, we hadn’t to cope with punctures or other problems that would have cost us time."
The Russian squad Duo Alexander Mironenko / Sergey Lebedev, however, lost 40 minutes by getting stuck in the sand.
2012/01/07 | 14:25 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/X-RAID