X-RAID TEAMS REACH DAKAR RALLY REST DAY IN ARICA IN THIRD, FIFTH, SEVENTH, NINTH, 11TH AND 27TH POSITIONS
* Chilean President Sebastian Piсera visits Arica bivouac
* Chicherit firmly on track to give Mini All4 Racing dream debut
* Poland's Holowczyc still aiming for podium finish
* Terranova and Palmeiro target top five finish in Buenos Aires
* Stephan Schott survives delays in soft sand into Arica rest day
* Sunday's stage to Antofagasta shortened on safety grounds
ARICA (Chile): The Monster Energy X-raid team reached the half-way point of the 33rd Dakar Rally with six of the original seven cars still running strongly into the rest day in Arica on Saturday.
Sebastian Piсera, the President of Chile, visited the Arica bivouac on Saturday morning, carried out a tour of the facilities and met officials and members of the leading teams. Monster Energy support staff had hosted a barbecue and welcoming party for the X-raid team and select media in the bivouac the previous evening.
The French duo of Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret lead the way for the Treburbased team in third overall. Other X-raid crews hold fifth, seventh, ninth, 11th and 27th positions.
Russian driver Leonid Novitskiy and German co-driver Andreas Schulz were the only crew to retire during the first half of the race. Novitskiy broke two bones in his left-hand after it became trapped in the steering wheel after a heavy landing in a hole on stage five and he was forced to withdraw from the race.
Peterhansel could so easily have been the overall leader of the race after six stages, but the Frenchman suffered two punctures early in the race and an unprecedented four flat tyres on the sixth stage, in addition to losing over four minutes with a navigational mistake at a waypoint in the sand dunes. The succession of delays means that he starts the second half of the rally, 14m 51s behind Spain's Carlos Sainz, in third overall.
"Yesterday was a very bad day for me," said Peterhansel. "I know we have the pace and the speed to win the stages, but the luck is not with us at the moment."
-source: bmw x-raid