AL-ATTIYAH SURGES INTO A PODIUM POSITION AFTER DRAMATIC NINTH STAGE OF THE DAKAR RALLY Eighth fastest time for Germany's Jutta Kleinschmidt; Nobre 15th into Nema NEMA, Mauritania -- Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Alain...
AL-ATTIYAH SURGES INTO A PODIUM POSITION AFTER DRAMATIC NINTH STAGE OF THE DAKAR RALLY
Eighth fastest time for Germany's Jutta Kleinschmidt; Nobre 15th into Nema
NEMA, Mauritania -- Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Alain Guehennec leapt into third position in the overall standings of the 29th Dakar Rally, after a dramatic special stage between Tichit and Nema in Mauritania. The Qatari recorded the sixth fastest time on his climb into a potential podium placing for the X-Raid Team.
Al-Attiyah began the ninth stage between Tichit and Nema in fourth position and was ninth through the opening passage control. But there was high drama for his main rivals. Overall leader Giniel De Villiers was forced to stop with turbocharger problems and Carlos Sainz suffered electrical maladies. Al-Attiyah was, therefore, sixth at PC2 and heading for a top three position in the overall standings in Nema if he could complete the section without problems.
This he did, as Jean-Louis Schlesser took the stage win and Mitsubishi's Stephane Peterhansel and Luc Alphand climbed into first and second positions.
"It was another crazy day on the Dakar," said Al-Attiyah. "I tried to drive safely, but the stage was not easy and it was so easy to make a mistake. I feel very sorry for Giniel and Volkswagen, but I am pleased for my team that we are making good progress. We have gone from seventh to fifth to third in two days. One more day and we could be leading....But I also have to watch out for Schlesser. He is only just over two minutes behind and has won this rally twice. He will be trying very hard."
Spaniard José-Luis Monterde and Jean-Marie Lurquin began the stage to Nema in 15th place after arriving in Tichit in 58th position. They were 47th through PC1 and en route to Nema at 17.00hrs, lying 34th on the stage at PC2.
German Kleinschmidt and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner completed the Atar to Tichit stage in 18th position and had climbed back to within two places of the top 20 this morning. Kleinschmidt was running as the 12th fastest car at the first PC. She eventually finished the stage in an excellent eighth overall -- her best stage finish of the event so far -- and unofficially holds 15th place in the overall classification.
Brazilian Paulo Nobre and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro headed into the Nema stage on Monday morning lying in 50th position after completing the longest special stage of the entire Dakar Rally in 36th position. Nobre was 19th at PC1 and finished the stage in 15th position to climb even further up the leaderboard.
Major support for the X-Raid team comes from Hessen-based sponsor TrekStor, Magna Steyr, BMW Motoren GmbH, Reiger, BF Goodrich, MAN, Sabelt, BBS and KS-Tools.
On Tuesday morning the X-Raid team will follow an amended route after the ASO announced on December 23rd that the route of the 29th Dakar Rally would not head across Malian territory to the tourist outpost at Timbuktu. Instead of the tricky special to the remote outpost, teams will tackle a 366km loop section around Nema, starting 10km from the bivouac and finishing 24km away.
-credit: bmw x-raid