|Silk Way Rally: Stéphane Peterhansel - "It's like a game and it was fun".|
The X-raid mechanics had worked all night on the car to resolve the technical problem that had slowed the Frenchman on Sunday’s opening stage. Result: The French duo of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret clinched the stage victory in their Mini All4 Racing.
Peterhansel began the special in 11th position on the road and quickly caught several competitors. He was able to pass a Kamaz truck at a checkpoint and, in the dunes towards the end of the stage, he overtook Holowczyc and the two X-raid team drivers reached the finish together.
"If you start from 11th place, you have the motivation to pass all before you," said Peterhansel. "It's like a game and it was fun. When we caught up with Krzysztof we stayed behind him in order not to take any unnecessary risks. The stage itself was a mixture of everything: fast passages, sandy stretches and small dunes. It was definitely not an easy day."
Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyc and his Belgian co-driver Jean-Mark Fortin finished second in their BMW X3 CC and claimed the overall rally lead, while the Russian pairing of Alexander Mironenko and Sergey Lebendev finished the special in an excellent fourth place in a second BMW X3 CC and hold third overall.
Holowczyc was classified in second position and this was the first time that he opened a stage into the dunes. "We were the ones who made the tracks. That was no easy task, but I think we have mastered it well, "said the delighted Pole at the finish. "The stage itself was long and demanding."
Mironenko and Lebendev were pleased with the fourth fastest time. "Today it was not always easy to find the right way, but we are satisfied," said Mironenko. "Once we had to stop and turn around on a sand dune, there were too many trees behind the dune crest."
"This was a great result for us, especially after yesterday's problems," said Monster Energy X-raid team boss Sven Quandt. "It's clear that Stéphane is now pushing. Krzysztof has to drive safe and without risks and then he has a very good chance of winning. Alexander has made a very good job."
2011/07/11 | 19:38 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/PERKINS/X-RAID