Dakar: BMW X-raid stage eight report

QATAR'S AL-ATTIYAH CLIMBS INTO FIFTH POSITION AS THE DAKAR RALLY ARRIVES IN DESOLATE TICHIT Monterde, Kleinschmidt and Nobre on track to reach Tichit TICHIT, Mauritania - Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Alain Guehennec ...

QATAR'S AL-ATTIYAH CLIMBS INTO FIFTH POSITION AS THE DAKAR RALLY ARRIVES IN DESOLATE TICHIT
Monterde, Kleinschmidt and Nobre on track to reach Tichit

TICHIT, Mauritania - Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Alain Guehennec began this morning's daunting 589km special stage between Atar and Tichit in fifth position on the stage, sandwiched between the factory Mitsubishis of Hiroshi Masuoka and defending champion Luc Alphand.

But they enjoyed an excellent run in their BMW X3CC to take the fourth fastest time and move up to fifth place in the overall standings.

After 111km of the stage Al-Attiyah was running third on the road behind overall rally leader Giniel de Villiers and his American team mate Marc Miller. But the Qatari was the second car through the 201km point and had already disposed of Masuoka and Jean-Louis Schlesser in the overall rankings. Al-Attiyah slipped behind Peterhansel into third at the second and third passage controls.

"It was a long, long stage, but I had no punctures and no real problems at all. I managed to keep my nose clean and have gained some places in the overall," said Al-Attiyah. "

Spaniard José-Luis Monterde and Jean-Marie Lurquin held 10th overall at the start of the day in his BMW X5 and was 27th at PC1 and 25th at PC2 and 26th at PC3.

German Kleinschmidt and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner held 31st overall this morning and began the Atar to Tichit stage in 20th position on the road, although she was the 15th driver to start the special and held 25th at PC1, 16th at PC2 and 20th at PC3 en route to Tichit.

Brazilian Paulo Nobre and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro headed into the Tichit stage on Sunday morning lying 57th overall. They were badly delayed soon after the start, but reached PC1 in 48th place. They were 39th at PC2 and 33rd at PC3 on route to Tichit.

"The last few days have been a real learning curve for me," said Nobre, sporting a green moustache and beard in the colours of Brazil. "This is my second Dakar, but my first time in Mauritania. Last year I only got as far as Morocco. I got stuck in the dunes before Atar and dug and dug, but it was no good. I would have been digging for days. I had to wait for the assistance truck. Mauritania is not like the rallies I do in Brazil.."

"Now I am gaining more experience and this morning I knew it was going to be a very tough stage. I have been happy with my pace on the stages when we had no problems, but you always have problems on the Dakar."

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.

Monday, January 15th marks the ninth timed special stage of the Dakar Rally -- a 494km section that starts near to the Tichit bivouac and finishes a three kilometres from Néma to the east.

This promises to be one of the classic Dakar stages across a huge expanse of sandy wasteland with few landmarks and vast areas of deep sand and dune complexes at the start of the special and camel grass, stony terrain and laterite piste further into the section.

This section could offer Al-Attiyah and the X-Raid Team a last chance to reduce the leading margin of the top cars before the traditional African stages through villages and towns in Mali and Sénégal later in the week.

-credit: bmw x-raid

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Jean-Louis Schlesser , Hiroshi Masuoka , Giniel de Villiers , Tina Thorner , Jean-Marie Lurquin , Jose Luis Monterde , Alain Guehennec , Paulo Nobre , Filipe Palmeiro