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Transiberico Rali: Sven Quandt - "We had a very good day".

Portugal’s Filipe Campos and co-driver Jaime Baptista held a 4m 02s overall lead for the Trebur-based X-raid team after the second day of the Transiberico Rally, the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, on Friday. Campos extended his first-day lead over Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner from 3m 31.8s after two demanding selective sections between Castelo Branco in Portugal and Merida in Spain.

But Chicherit overcame the hot and dusty conditions to retain second overall, set the fastest time on the day’s second timed test and remain on course to clinch the FIA World Cup on Sunday afternoon. The feat would mark the second successive FIA World Cup title for the BMW X-raid team.

The event also marked the X-raid debut for Catalan Joan ‘Nani’ Roma and his experienced French co-driver Michel Périn in a third BMW X3 CC. They set the fastest time on the short super special stage, near Estoril, on Thursday afternoon and were quickest overall through the first passage control in the longer second selective section.

But Roma suffered an electrical sensor problem in the second half of the special and the car would not restart. He was unable to complete the day’s route and incurred massive time penalties, which pushed him down to the foot of the leader board when action resumed on Friday morning.

Roma duly set the fourth fastest time in his repaired BMW X3 CC through the third selective section after collecting a puncture and finished the fourth special a mere 22 seconds behind his stage-winning team-mate, Guerlain Chicherit. "The handling on the car is superb," enthused Roma. "It really handles like a rally car and gives me confidence to push that little bit harder."

Bernardo Moniz da Maia and Joana Sotto-Mayor held 11th position in the fourth official BMW X3 CC after Thursday’s opening two selective sections and finished SS3 in 10th position. They were eighth quickest in the fourth stage and held a fine seventh place heading into the overnight halt at Merida.

"It was a little disappointing for ‘Nani’ to have the problem yesterday, but we have had a very good day at the office today," enthused X-raid’s team director Sven Quandt.

"Filipe is driving very well and has shown a marked improvement in recent months. When Guerlain upped his pace this afternoon, Filipe was able to respond and both drivers have been very impressive. ‘Nani’ is back on track and enjoying his first run with the team. He was on the top pace today and Bernardo has been a revelation. He is also coming on leaps and bounds and making very swift progress."

Tomorrow (Saturday) the third leg of four leaves Merida en route to Beja and includes two slightly longer selective sections with a service stop in Mora. The event is scheduled to finish in Estroril’s Casino Gardens on Sunday afternoon.

2009/06/19 | 22:27 CET | Editor: MR/HS/T. Quandt

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