X-RAID'S TERRANOVA CROSSES INTO CHILE AND HOLDS EIGHTH OVERALL IN DAKAR RALLY * Dutchman Kuipers maintains top 10 position into Chile * Frenchman Chicherit sets the fifth fastest time into the Andes VALPARAISO (Chile): Four of the X-raid's...
X-RAID'S TERRANOVA CROSSES INTO CHILE AND HOLDS EIGHTH OVERALL IN DAKAR RALLY
* Dutchman Kuipers maintains top 10 position into Chile
* Frenchman Chicherit sets the fifth fastest time into the Andes
VALPARAISO (Chile): Four of the X-raid's Sails Capital Racing Team's original six BMW X3 CCs crossed the mighty Andes mountain range and arrived at Valparaiso on Chile's Pacific Coast, having survived one of the toughest starts to a Dakar Rally in the notorious event's 30-year history.
The Trebur-based X-raid team had led the event for two of the first six days and proved that the BMW X3 CC is a competitive Dakar Rally-winning package.
Following the withdrawal of X-raid's former leader Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah in Mendoza on Thursday evening, Argentina's Orlando Terranova and French co-driver Alain Guehennec took up the reins as the leading X-raid crew and arrived in Valparaiso in eighth overall, despite dropping time on the day's special stage.
They began the morning's special stage in ninth and were ninth quickest through the first checkpoint, with French team mates Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel running in seventh position early on through the 243km special, which had been shortened because of recent heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in the Andes foothills. Chicherit eventually set the fifth fastest time and climbed to 19th overall.
Dutchman Rene Kuipers and Portuguese co-driver Filipe Palmeiro found themselves in 10th overall at the start of the morning's action and, when news filtered through that defending champion Stephane Peterhansel had retired with engine problems, Kuipers maintained 10th position into Valparaiso, despite setting the 22nd fastest time.
X-raid Russia's Leonid Novitskiy and Oleg Tyupenkin began the day in 24th position in the overall rankings after losing substantial time in a muddy swamp on Thursday. The Russians completed Friday's stage in Argentina in ninth place and now hold an unofficial 22nd in the overall rankings.
Tomorrow (Saturday) is the traditional rest day assigned to the Dakar Rally by the ASO. It marks a crucial opportunity for crews to take a much-needed rest and for mechanics to carry out full repairs to the cars without watching the clock and needing to finish in time for an early morning restart.
The rest day also marks the arrival of numerous guests, media and VIPs from Europe, all keen to share the atmosphere of this unique event on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.