Agencies / Aktau, Kazakhstan
With only a day’s racing left, Qatar’s Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah held on to his lead in Rally Kazakhstan, with Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel moving in within six minutes of the overall leader after a spectacular fifth stage performance.
On the penultimate day of the third round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, the participants overcame a 290km. More than half of the selective sections were new places for Rally Kazakhstan, including the sandy dunes of the Kyzylkum desert.
The crew of Yazeed-al Rajhi and Dirk von Zitzewitz set the fastest time of the stage — 2 hours and 58 minutes. This is the second stage win for the crew that has been set back by a four-hour penalty for violating the sports regulations at the finish of the third section. The duo is seventh in the overall standings.
Peterhansel, along with his co-driver and wife Andrea, rose from fourth to second position with the second fastest time of the day yesterday. They are now 5 minutes and 38 second behind al-Attiyah and his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel in the overall standings going into the final stage today.
“Today, of course, there was a strange situation, three drivers who were in front of us experienced technical problems. Nasser lost 30 minutes. I suppose others (lost) even more. Now we are second and it is better than we expected. Tomorrow we will try to put pressure on Nasser in the race and see what happens. This is motor sport, so we can say that we have a chance,” Peterhansel said after the stage finish.
Czech race driver Miroslav Zapletal crossed the finish line third in his Hummer H3 Evo VII. With co-driver Marek Sikora, he is in fourth place overall.
Dakar 2019 winner, al-Attiyah, said, “Not an easy day. After 50kms, our car just got stuck and stopped. We did not know the reason. Stood for 45 minutes, then the car started up. Then we were pushing. Lost a lot of time, but we are at the top of the table and tomorrow we will see what we can do.”
Event runner-up from 2017 and 2018, Jakub Przygonski, was unfortunate. The Pole was closer to victory than ever, especially after al-Attiyah’s car stopped driving. However, the Przygonski’s car fell into a hole and turned over.
The day was terrible for another crew —Bernhard ten Brinke and Tom Colsoul. The driveshaft on their Toyota Hilux broke and they were stuck in the sand dunes. After some repairs, the team pushed on, however, with one gear stuck. After they fixed that, they smelled gasoline and oil. Having lost a little less than two hours, the crew decided any more risks with the car and discontinued the race.
In the T2 class, the Kazakh crew of Kirill Chernenkov and Alexei Mun won the fifth day of the competition, even as Qatar’s Mohamed al-Meer leads the standings.
In the T3 category, Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela topped the stage with a time of 4 hours 19 minutes and 22 seconds.
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