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Transsyberia: Team Middle East takes the lead after Stage 6.

The twofold Middle East Rally Champion Said Rashid Al Hajri and his co-pilot Tim Trenker displaced the Portuguese, who had been leading in the overall standings since the beginning, and moved to the top. Team Middle East experienced some nerve-racking moments after crossing the finish-line.

"We knew we´d been really fast and that we´d performed great and we expressed our happiness about it too. At the finish-line checkpoint we were supposed to have our board card stamped, but we couldn´t find it. We turned the entire car upside down. Nothing. Then Tim dismantled his baseboard: the card had slipped into a little crevice behind it. Fortunately we have it again and can now tackle the missions in Mongolia as the leaders", Al Hajri described the situation excitedly in the evening.

For the third time during the Transsyberia Rally 2008 Team Germany 1 was the fastest en route. They hightailed to victory in 51:21 minutes. That was a nice present Armin Schwarz gave himself for his 45th birthday with the support of his navigator Andi Schulz. Second place went to the French Christian Lavieille and Francois Borsotto with 55:35. Denis Levyatov and Sergey Talantsev from Team Porsche Russia 1 came in third in 57:39 minutes. In the overall standings, there are only 1:36 minutes between the leading teams, Middle East and France.

Team Italia had to retire from the Transsyberia Rally 2008. Antonio Tognana and his co-pilot Carlo Cassina drove too fast over a bump. Subsequently Tognana complained of back pain. The Italian received first-aid treatment in the hospital in Novosibirsk and is transported home with a suspected virtebra injury.

The program for the upcoming stage has changed. The special test has been canceled, since the rally´s physician will be attending to Tognana until the transfer to the airplane and wouldn´t be able to be back in time for the evaluation test. The 7th stage from Novosibirsk to Kosh Agash will therefore be a clear transfer stage. Near the Mongolian border, the teams will be spending the night outside for the first time during the Transsyberia Rally 2008.

The 6th stage of the Transsyberia Rally 2008 powered by Sony Ericsson began in Omsk and proceeded across almost 700 kilometers to Novosibirsk, the best known station of the Transsyberian Railroad and the capital of Siberia. The route was level and fast and led across dry grounds, lined with swampy grasslands and isolated groves. The 78 km long special stage demanded full concentration from the teams. Some of the biggest challenges was the dust which was stirred up by other vehicles and navigating the back-country of Novosibirsk.

2008/07/18 | 20:22 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Rebel Media

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