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Transsyberia: Armin Schwarz takes over overall lead in Russia.

Stuttgart. A change in the overall lead at the Transsyberia Rally: Armin Schwarz (Austria) and Oliver Hilger (Germany) have taken over the overall lead after two stages of the long distance rally from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar. Just 1.89 seconds behind them are the Polish duo Jarek Swiwka and Andrzej Bryl in second. Fastest on the special stage were Rod Millen (New Zealand) and Richard Kelsey (USA). They improved on their fourth position in the overall classification behind Carles Celma (Spain) and Jörn Pugmeister (Germany), who had won the first stage on Friday. The first nine positions in the class are occupied by Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia vehicles, followed by a Toyota in tenth.

After around two-thirds of the 28.6 kilometre trial, Celma and Pugmeister became bogged down in a water hole. Schwarz and Hilger pulled their opponents out of the watery swamp with a tow rope, losing four minutes. "The track through the forest was very wet - it was great fun. It was a matter of principal to give Carles and Jörn Pugmeister a hand. During the remaining 6,400 kilometres there will for sure be times when we need help," said the pleased 44-year-old ex-European rally champion.

"It's great that we're so close to the front-runners," said Jarek Swiwka at the end of the stage. "But it was even more heart-warming to see how the competitors help each other. Hilger and Schwarz showed what true sportsmanship is all about," he added.

Thoroughly enjoying his role as navigator was Germany's most popular television magistrate, Alexander Hold ("Richter Alexander Hold" on German TV station Sat 1). "We only managed to orientate ourselves via GPS today. That worked really well. Unfortunately due to my filming commitments the rally is over for me - what a shame. I would have loved to co-drive Jürgen Kern all the way to Ulaanbaatar." On the second stage Kern and Hold ranked 20th.

2007/08/05 | 14:28 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Porsche

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