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Transsyberia: The hopes for victory of Armin Schwartz are crushed.

During Thursday┬┤s Transsyberia evaluation test an accident occured, which destroyed the hopes for victory of the former European Rally Champion Armin Schwarz and his co-pilot Oliver Hilger. Team Germany 1 turned over in their car several times after they drove into a hole in a very fast segment of the stretch. Oliver Hilger was uninjured except for some bruises, and Armin Schwarz was not injured seriously either. Following teams rushed to help the injured, who were apparently under shock, until the emergency doctors arrived. Saeed Al-Hahjiri and his co-driver Tim Trenker were together with the ladies' team Katja Poensgen and Dr. Erik Brandenburg at the scene of the accident.

The victims were able to speak, and the team of doctors was at the scene very quickly. Schwarz was transported to the hospital in Ulaanbaatar via helicopter where he will be x-rayed as a precaution. Oliver Hilger was treated on the scene. The Porsche Cayenne is damaged soo badly that it cannot continue its participation in the rally. For a long time Armin Schwarz was in the lead, and yesterday he was in 5th place of the overall evaluation, with just 22 minutes difference. All chances for a victory were still present. Team Brandenburg and the ladies'team weren't able to complete the evaluation test and drove back to the camp together.

The special test is still taking place to this hour. Inofficially Rod Millen from the USA is in the lead,and Lars Kern apparently has worked himself to the front, and is in 2nd place. Dr. Bandenburg had already lost time beforehand. Brandenburg: "The car couldn't get through the water during two river crossings. It was 6.6 feet deep, but I still tried! The 911 was too light, and simply floated. Then it sank! Only the shovels on the roof were visible, so we were better off to leave the car. A unimog pulled us out, and after 3 minutes the 'sow' was running again." The stretch is difficult, with many river crossings running through it, and many participants are stuck, so that you can expect the rescue efforts to take hours. When results and more information will follow is unclear at this time.

2007/08/17 | 13:34 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Transsyberia

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