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Rali Transiberico 2007 Special-Newssection (FIA Cross Country Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Rali Transiberico 2007, 1st 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.

Transiberico: A perfect comeback for Colin McRae in Portugal.

The opening round of the 2007 Cross-Country Rally World Cup got off to a perfect start for Colin McRae who claimed the second-fastest time with the Team Overdrive Nissan Navara on Thursday afternoon's prologue. His performance means he will start Friday morning's action in second place on the road.

It is difficult to judge what a sort of influence a short 7km stage can make on an event that features no less than 1,200km of against-the-clock action. On paper, not much. In reality, however, the distance covered by competitors today near Estoril, Portugal, could well have a significant incidence on the outcome on the 2007 Rali Transiberico.

"It was vital to set a good time on today's prologue," argues Colin McRae's co-driver Jean-Marc Fortin. "Today's run determined the start order for tomorrow's leg which features some 350km of stages, most of which are very narrow and lined with trees. If we hit dust, overtaking could well prove hazardous; dangerous even. This evening we are 2nd overall, just 4.7 seconds behind Carlos Sainz. That's not just good for team morale, it could also weigh heavily in the balance at the finish."

The crew took the precaution of noting today's prologue like true professionals: "We profited from the morning to recce the prologue? by scooter," smiles Fortin. "Two passes enabled us to take the notes and then check them, just as you would on a WRC event. After that, Colin rode over the stage another three times."

Once behind the wheel of his Nissan Navara 06 pickup, the Scot swiftly reassured observers that he had lost none of his flamboyant style. "There were quite a lot of fast portions," relates McRae's Belgian co-driver. "You really had to set the car up to slalom between the trees and make full use of the width of the track. It was an absolute thrill to watch Colin in action from the right-hand seat. We also benefited from a useful technical 'evolution' inside our Nissan: a handbrake. Handbrakes are hardly ever used in rally-raids which often traverse wide open desert reaches, but this weekend's Transiberico is more akin to a WRC rally."

"I am delighted to see that the set-up we found with Colin when he came to test the car in Belgium functions well," says Grégoire de Mevius. "Before the start of today's prologue, we also saw that there was a good chance Colin would catch the driver starting ahead of him and the organisers accepted to allow a gap of two-minutes so that he wouldn't be hampered by the dust thrown up by the car in front. In rally-raids, too, attention to the tiniest of details can count?"

2007/05/31 | 17:38 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Overdrive

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