TEAM X-RAID GMBH PREPARES FOR CRUCIAL FINAL WEEK OF DAKAR RALLY * Three BMW X3 CCs in top 10 after first Dakar week Chicherit and * Peterhansel hold fourth and fifth places ANTOFAGASTA (Chile): Team X-raid GmbH will use Saturday's rest day of...
TEAM X-RAID GMBH PREPARES FOR CRUCIAL FINAL WEEK OF DAKAR RALLY
* Three BMW X3 CCs in top 10 after first Dakar week Chicherit and
* Peterhansel hold fourth and fifth places
ANTOFAGASTA (Chile): Team X-raid GmbH will use Saturday's rest day of the 2010 Dakar Rally in Antofagasta to ensure that the whole team is prepared and sufficiently relaxed in preparation for the next seven special stages, which will take the event to a finish in Buenos Aires next weekend.
Guerlain Chicherit, Stephane Peterhansel, Leonid Novitskiy and their respective co-drivers, Tina Thorner, Jean-Paul Cottret and Andreas Schulz hold fourth, fifth and ninth in the overall rankings after a first week of mixed fortunes for the Trebur-based team.
"Things went great yesterday," said Chicherit. "We drove at a good pace. I had intended to attack. I wanted to set a good time, but it did not really work out the way we expected. We had two flat tyres. Then we ended up in the dust of Giniel (de Villiers) and we had a hard time getting close to him to pass.
"We drove almost 100km behind him. Apart from that all was fine. We are climbing back up the overall standings. There were big decisions to make in terms of navigation, but we were okay and it is looking good for next week."
Team director Sven Quandt is understandably a little frustrated, despite his three surviving cars holding places inside the top 10. Peterhansel was a clear overall leader until he suffered prop shaft problems on the fifth stage and Joan 'Nani' Roma had set a fastest time in Argentina on stage one before crashing out of the rally.
"Overall, it has been a good team performance," said Quandt. "We were able to show the true potential of the BMW X3 CC and just two things happened which have potentially cost us a fantastic result and prevented us from being much higher in the overall classification. They were Nani's accident and the prop shaft problems for Peterhansel.
"The goal for the second week is to hold at least one car in the top five and make sure that Leonid stays inside the top 10. Three cars in the top 10 at the finish would be an excellent achievement."
Team X-raid GmbH's mechanics will carry out complete drive train changes in Antofagasta on Saturday and each engine will be thoroughly checked as well. The crews will stay in hotels in Antofagasta to relax a little away from the stresses and the hassles of the hectic bivouac, but they will be on hand to carry out media interviews and press obligations.
"Hopefully the mechanics can get the cars finished as soon as possible," added Quandt. "That will give them time to relax a little in the afternoon as well."
Tomorrow (Sunday) the eighth stage of the 2010 Dakar Rally heads out of Antofagasta and back down the coast of Chile to finish at Copiapo. The 472km special starts after a 96km liaison and finishes at the bivouac.
Fog was prevalent in this area last year and the stage was delayed, but teams will face a mixture of the Atacama desert's faster and rockier terrain and a section of tricky sand dunes as the route nears its finish.
-source: bmw x-raid