X-RAID TEAM'S CHICHERIT MOVES INTO OVERALL TOP 10 Chicherit and Cox in flying form into Bamako with 5th and 7th fastest times BAMAKO (Mali): Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit and co-driver Matthieu Baumel had slipped back to 11th overall at...
X-RAID TEAM'S CHICHERIT MOVES INTO OVERALL TOP 10
Chicherit and Cox in flying form into Bamako with 5th and 7th fastest times
BAMAKO (Mali): Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit and co-driver Matthieu Baumel had slipped back to 11th overall at the restart this morning, after taking an unofficial 10th place into Kayes. Frenchman Thierry Magnaldi had repaired his Buggy and moved back into ninth place, but Chicherit was set to benefit from the problems that befell German driver Jutta Kleinschmidt and found himself back in the top 10 at the end of the day.
He was sixth fastest into PC1 and fifth into PC2 and eventually completed the stage in a superb fifth fastest time, beating the overall leader and defending champion Stephane Peterhansel by 11 minutes into the bargain. He was unofficially classified in ninth overall, with both Kleinschimdt and Magnaldi in trouble.
South Africans Alfie Cox and co-driver Ralph Pitchford began the day in 22nd place overall, but were a stunning fourth fastest overall through the opening passage control on today's special stage and seventh into PC2. They eventually finished the stage in seventh place.
"After losing a night's sleep into Kiffa in was nice to actually catch up with a little shut-eye in Kayes," said Cox. "That problem with the clutch is now behind us and I feel quite confident that we can make it to Dakar. But you never know on these stages. A small tree caught out one of the Mitsubishis yesterday. So I need to take care."
Spaniard Jose-Luis Monterde and former WRC-winning co-driver Tiziano Siviero started out of Kayes in 25th overall. They held 18th at PC1 and 17th at PC2 and eventually completed the stage in an unofficial 17th place and a time of 3h 37m 30s.
"There will not be much time this evening to carry out much work on the cars, because of the late arrival from the long road liaison section," said Team Director Sven Quandt. "So we decided to carry out a lot of extra work on the cars in Kayes. We had two crews working on each car at the same time to make sure that everything that could be replaced was replaced."
"There will be a Marathon section on Thursday into Guinea and we will not be able to work on the cars at all. No assistance teams will be allowed to go there. It will be down to the crews to repair any problems they may face on the stage."
Major support for the X-Raid team comes from Corona Extra and Magna Steyr.
Bamako is the capital city of the Republic of Mali and was founded in the heart of Mandingue country back in 1640. In local Bambara dialect, Bamako means 'River of the Caymens' and is a cosmopolitan city with native Bambaras Kogoras, Markas, Malinkes, Peuls and Sarakoles groups.
On Thursday morning teams leave the hustle and bustle of Bamako for a visit to the Republic of Guinea for the first time since 1996. A 197 kms road liaison section through western Mali is followed by a 368 kms competitive stage into the heart of Guinea to a finish near Dabola..
The stage crosses fords and narrow tracks replace fast laterite piste. There is the added risk of damaging the car with no assistance vehicles or service permitted at the overnight halt in Labe, which will be reached by a tiring and hazardous 307 kms road liaison.