X-Raid driver Al-Attiyah finishes second! The first of two so-called marathon stages on the programme for the 2005 Dakar began today. Helping oneself is the only type of service available to the drivers during the marathon stages because the ...
X-Raid driver Al-Attiyah finishes second!
The first of two so-called marathon stages on the programme for the 2005 Dakar began today. Helping oneself is the only type of service available to the drivers during the marathon stages because the service-teams head towards a different stage destination than the rally vehicles. The X-raid drivers are only entitled to receive support from their service-truck, which is also participating in the race. Besides that, the drivers are separated from the rest of their team for two days of competition and one night.
Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah drove a clever race and was also excellent navigated by his co-driver Alain Guehennec and so they earned their reward of second place in the day's standings. The Quatari mastered the 660-km special stage in 8h47:37 min. He crossed the finish line in his BMW X5 with a gap of 25:40 min. to the day's fastest driver Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi). For the team, there is a special celebratory mood because of the position in the overall standings in which Al-Attiyah ranks fourth, with a 22:53 min. deficit behind Peterhansel.
Needless to say that X-raid team manager Sven Quandt is pleased with today's results, the performance of his drivers and the team: "Congratulations to Nasser and Alain, that's a great result and it gives the whole team a boost of motivation. I'm very satisfied with what we've achieved up to now. Nasser now has every chance for a place on the podium, but it is also clear that Mitsubishi simply is driving in another world. Nevertheless, we'll continue to push on and keep a shot of confidence in reserve, because you never know... The BMW's are dependable and the engineering is stable. This has often been a decisive factor between success and failure in the Dakar. The burden has been heavy in the past days for everyone and several difficult stages are yet to come. Our team spirit is high and that's why I'm confident that we'll master this Dakar very well."
Due to the huge delay of a lot of competitors this evening (at 22:00 G.M.T. only 10 cars had arrived the finish!), the organizers decided to cut the tomorrow's stage (leg 8) from Tichit to Tidjikja. After 130 km of special stage a liasion will follow. Then the caravan will move directly to Tidjikja where teams will once again have complete service available. Also the crossing of the Nega pass was cancelled.