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Silk Way Rally: French Team Nissan Dessoude leads the chase.

Already the fourth leg, and the longest stage of the rally. A real effort of endurance, where the slightest navigational error would be extremely costly. The Team Dessoude Pickup is still making good progress, and for its crew, every additional kilometre is important. Christian Lavieille and Jean-Michel Polato are still in 5th position overall this evening, pulling out their lead over the buggy driven by Mathias Kahle from Germany.

Christian appears satisfied: "The Pickup is running perfectly. Even with a full tank of fuel, like today (with 500 litres), it is still really smooth. I am really very pleasantly surprised. We set a good pace, but in the middle of the stage the brakes began to overheat. We preferred to slow things down a bit, before starting off again at a faster pace.

There was plenty of navigation. Early on, we were on a wide, sandy track, in the middle of the steppes. Then there were a lot of changes of directions, with a number of parallel routes. On the other hand, the VW cars had some ‘gardening sessions’.

Jean-Michel did a great job, especially as it really wasn’t easy. My thanks to him for stopping us from getting lost. My thanks to Team Dessoude as well, for preparing a really super Pickup. Tomorrow, we face another long stage, which looks rather similar to that of today. We’ll see!" In the meantime, the duo of Lavieille and Polato are not giving an inch, against some very sharp rivals.

A small matter of annoyance for Christian is that tomorrow will see him start behind a Kamaz truck, because of the extremely small gap of four seconds. The conditions are still hot, with high temperatures, against all expectations. After some worries right at the start of the event, the crew of Chavigny-Singery put in a fine performance today, and was 24th fastest in the timed stage.

Frédéric looked back over this long day: "Physically, I am tired, but it was a very, very good leg. The special stage was difficult. We crossed every sort of terrain possible : rough ground, soft sand, harder sand, dust, rocks and an awful lot of navigation. I am very satisfied as we did a good job today ! Our thanks to the Team’s mechanics, who have worked like crazy to solve the problems we had at the start of the event. Today, with six cylinders, everything went perfectly."

As far as the Turkmenistan Nissan Patrols are concerned, they are undergoing a difficult apprenticeship. Today, Nazarov rolled his vehicle in the middle of the special stage. The team is waiting to see the damage before pronouncing their verdict on the car. As for the crew of Annaev- Orazmedov, they are continuing their route without the slightest problem. We will watch their progress over the coming days.

Overall Standings after Leg 04, Uralsk (KZ) - Beyneu (KZ)

01) Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk (Q/D) I VW Race Touareg I 05:14:58
02) Sainz/Cruz (E/E) I VW Race Touareg I 05:13:05
03) Miller/Pitchford (USA/ZA) I VW Race Touareg I 05:13:25
04) De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) I VW Race Touareg I 05:16:17
05) Lavieille/Polato (F/F) I Nissan Navara I 05:54:11
06) Kahle/Schünemann (D/D) I Fast&Speed Buggy I 05:59:26
07) Gache/Gordon (F/F) I SMG Gache Buggy I 05:59:10
08) Errandonea/Garcin (F/F) I SMG Gache Buggy I 06:28:32
09) Misikov/Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS) I Nissan Navara I 06:22:09
10) Saukans/Zarnis (LV/LV) I OS Car I 06:17:57

2009/09/09 | 16:08 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Lidye Arpizou

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