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Silk Way Rally: Christian Lavieille with "Fire in the Nissan".

This fifth leg, between Beyneu and Janaozen, was really not lucky for the #102 Nissan Pickup of the French Christian Lavieille. After 175 km of the timed stage, the gearbox gave way, leaving Christian Lavieille and Jean-Michel Polato immobilised at the side of the trail. Finally, after a decision by the Race Direction, the driver from the Var will be able to continue Thursday morning.

For safety reasons, he will start the timed section on the 11th row. Of course, the penalty in the overall classification will be heavy, but the remaining days will be useful in order to test some settings and to allow the driver to cover more kilometres. Happy to be able to remain in the race, Christian nevertheless has some regrets further to the good performances over recent days.

"We started this morning ahead of Gache and Kahle, but behind a Kamaz" told Lavieille. "Trying to pass a Kamaz which is doing 160 km/h is quite a feat. We were honking for around 15 km before it decided to pull over. It was awful! The car was going really well, you could even say it was excellent. But at the 175 km point, there was a horrible noise and then nothing. The gearbox had ‘exploded’. There was even a small fire under the car, which we hurried to put out with sand. From the side of the route, we could only wait and watch.

Kahle went by, after we’d gained a further eight minutes over him. It is really annoying to have to give up the fight for the overall classification, as we had four superb days with an excellent car which was handling really well. We will continue tomorrow, and even if there is no hope for the overall classification, we can still set some good times."

The Nissan Pathfinder of Frédéric Chavigny and Stéphane Singery is currently running like clockwork. The nr 113 even set the 25th fastest time on today’s special stage. The Turkmenistan crew of Annaev and Orazmedov is the sole survivor of the trio of Patrol cars. Running well, they are determined to go to the end of the adventure. As for the two others. After it rolled, the Race Direction refused to let the one car continue, for safety reasons. The engine had moved during the impact, meaning that the bodywork had moved, making the doors difficult to open. There was a similar verdict for the second Patrol, which had also rolled."

Overall Standings after Leg 5, Beyneu (KZ) - Janaozen (KZ)

01) Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk (Q/D) I VW Race Touareg I 03:41:44
02) Sainz/Cruz (E/E) I VW Race Touareg I 03:45:50
03) Miller/Pitchford (USA/ZA) I VW Race Touareg I 03:44:34
04) De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) I VW Race Touareg I 03:41:37
05) Kahle/Schünemann (D/D) I Fast & Speed Honda I 04:23:59
06) Berkut/Meshcheryakov (RUS/RUS) I Mitsubishi MPR13 I 04:31:36
07) Errandonea/Garcin (F/F) I SMG Gache Buggy I 04:19:25
08) Misikov/Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS) I Nissan Navara I 04:26:34
09) Saukans/Zarnis (LV/LV) I OSC car I 04:32:08
10) Kuznetsov/Neshin (RUS/RUS) I Mitsubishi Pajero I 04:32:42

2009/09/10 | 14:34 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Lidye Arpizou

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