DRIVESHAFT PROBLEMS COST QATAR'S AL-ATTIYAH TIME IN UAE DESERT CHALLENGE
2006 UAE Desert Challenge
Leg 2: Moreeb - Moreeb
Liaison 54.85 km, Special 304.50 km, Liaison 92.47 km - Total 451.82 km
Kleinschmidt back on track with sixth fastest time; Spaniard Monterde well-placed after gruelling dune test
Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Alain Guehennec slipped from third to seventh position after the second timed desert selective section of the 2006 UAE Desert Challenge in the remote sandy wastelands of the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, A broken driveshaft cost them valuable time.
Germany's Jutta Kleinschmidt and Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner began the day in 18th place after Monday's water pipe problem and were riding high in eighth position at PC1. They were eventually the sixth car to reach the stage finish, after the searing heat and treacherous soft sand caught out many of their rivals. But the German/Swedish pairing were stuck themselves for over 15 minutes in the soft sand and now hold an unofficial eighth overall.
Al-Attiyah headed into the first Moreeb loop stage behind overnight leader Carlos Sainz and defending Dakar champion Luc Alphand. The Qatari was second fastest at the first passage control, a mere three seconds ahead of four-times Dakar winner Ari Vatanen and 17 seconds clear of last year's UAE Desert Challenge winner Stephane Peterhansel.
But Al-Attiyah lost time to the leaders before PC3 with a broken driveshaft and was classified seventh after dropping a little under six minutes to the stage-leading Alphand. The component was changed at the assistance point.
"I was running flat out and then we broke a driveshaft," said Al-Attiyah. "We stopped for around 30 minutes to try and change it and then decided it was better to replace at the assistance point. The boys did a great job and we have not lost too much time."
Spaniard José-Luis Monterde and Belgian co-driver Jean-Marie Lurquin rounded off the top 10 at the start of competitive action on Tuesday and headed into the UAE deserts sandwiched between Marc Corbett's Nissan and the local Liberty Chevrolet driver Yayha Al-Helai. The Castellon driver was 10th at PC1 and the seventh car to finish the stage after stopping himself in soft sand around five kilometres from the stage finish. He now holds an excellent sixth position in the unofficial results.
"It was very difficult to try and keep up with Jutta," admitted José-Luis. "Then we got stuck ourselves near the finish in the sand."
Brazilian driver Paulo Nobre and co-driver Luiz Palu were 12th at the restart this morning and Nobre headed the newly-crowned FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup champion Sergey Shmakov into the selective section. Nobre was 13th at PC1, but his Russian rival failed to negotiate the first set of sand dunes in his Buggy and returned to the bivouac. Nobre was later troubled with engine-related problems.
"Nasser proved this morning that we are heading in the right direction with the car," said Team Director Sven Quandt. "He was in a good pace from the start before the shaft broke. Jose-Luis has also settled well into the team now. He has been with us for one and a half years and is really coming into his own. Jutta lost some time in the sand, but we have three days now to push on and up the leaderboard."
Wednesday the X-Raid Team starts the third leg of this year's UAE Desert Challenge - a second loop stage around Moreeb. The 262.45 km timed section includes four passage controls and begins near to the Moreeb bivouac and finishes on a gatch track to the west of Arrada, a little over 50 km from the bivouac.