Rallye du Maroc: Positive half-time balance
• Five MINI ALL4 Racing in the top 10
• Al-Rajhi / Gottschalk hold second place
Yesterday was half-time in the OiLibya Rallye du Maroc – the prologue and the first two stages were contested in the past three days. Currently, five MINI ALL4 Racing pairings hold top-10 positions, with Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) being second behind Nasser Al-Attiyah. The Russian pairing, Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov, follows in fifth position, right ahead of Kuba Przygonski (POL) / Tom Colsoul (BEL) and Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Michel Périn (FRA). Orlando Terranova (ARG) and Paulo Fiúza (POR) in ninth position also are among the top 10. Mohamed Abu Issa (QAT) and Philipp Beier (GER) hold 13th place while Boris Garafulic (CHI) and Filipe Palmeiro (POR) currently are 16th in the overall standings.
In the seven-kilometre prologue, five of the six MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles made it to the top 10, with Hirvonen being the quickest of them by finishing second, while Al-Rajhi came fifth. Then, on Monday, things got serious. The first stage, along the coast not far from Agadir, was split into two special stages featuring distances of 70 and 50 kilometres respectively. Hirvonen and Al-Rajhi defended their positions in the overall standings. Terranova, Vasilyev and Przygonski also made it to the top 10 and held seventh to ninth positions.
In stage two, the teams left Agadir and had to battle their way across the dunes. But they had to opt for a more careful approach than usually as they will have to spend the night without their service crews, after having completed yesterday’s 290-kilometre marathon special stage. Only at the end of today’s stage at Erfoud, with another 315 kilometres covered, the service crews will be allowed to again attend to the MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles. Nonetheless, the third special stage was a true test and made for several changes in the top 10: following the fast section in the early stages, the stage took the field into the dunes.
With the second-best time of the day, Al-Rajhi leaped up to second position in the overall standings. With their results in yesterday’s stage (third and fifth), Vasilyev and Przygonski both gained three positions in the overall standings. For Hirvonen, however, the day wasn’t too successful. He finished only 10th today, thus dropping back to seventh position overall. The Fin and his French navigator early were stopped by a damaged tyre and later, they lost more time when looking for the right way. Terranova also dropped back by two positions while Abu Issa finished 15th today and leaped up by 11 positions in the overall. Meanwhile, Garafulic gained one position. Nonetheless, the battle for the positions is far from being over. After all, there still are another three days to go.
Results stage 2:
1. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 2h 35m 40s
2. Y. Al-Rajhi (KSA) / T. Gottschalk (GER) MINI ALL4 Racing – 2h 45m 39s
3. V. Vasilyev (RUS) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI ALL4 Racing – 2h 47m 47s
4. J. Roma (ESP) / A. Haro (ESP) Toyota – 2h 48m 50s
5. J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Colsoul (BEL) MINI ALL4 Racing – 2h 50m 48s
5. O. Terranova (ARG) P. Fiuza (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 2h 53m 25s
10. M. Hirvonen (FIN) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 2h 56m 21s
15. M. Abuissa (QAT) /. P. Beier (GER) Buggy – 3h 19m 53s
18. B. Garafulic (CHI) / F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 3h 36m 50s
Overall standings after stage 2:
1. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 4h 05m 39s
2. Y. Al-Rajhi (KSA) / T. Gottschalk (GER) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 20m 10s
3. J. Roma (ESP) / A. Haro (ESP) Toyota – 4h 21m 27s
4. C. Sainz (ESP) / L. Cruz (ESP) Peugeot – 4h 22m 47s
5. V. Vasilyev (RUS) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 23m 41s
6. J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Colsoul (BEL) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 27m 20s
7. M. Hirvonen (FIN) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 27m 27s
9. O. Terranova (ARG) P. Fiuza (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 28m 57s
13. M. Abuissa (QAT) /. P. Beier (GER) Buggy – 5h 13m 37s
16. B. Garafulic (CHI) / F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 5h 21m 54s