Silk Way Rally: MINI John Cooper Works Rally holds the lead
Yazeed Al-Rajhi still heads the way
Roma convinces with good stage results
With four days of the 2018 Silk Way Rally contested, the X-raid team may be happy with its achievements. On the one hand, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) hold the overall lead, with their MINI John Cooper Works Rally and on the other, Joan ‚Nani‘ Roma and Alex Haro (ESP) who are only 20th with the second MINI JCW Rally demonstrate with good stage results what would have been possible.
The first days in Russia already proved to be quite a challenge. Stage one was physically extremely demanding due to countless bumps and potholes. As a result, Roma suffered from nausea and was forced to retire from the special stage and return to the bivouac. With a time penalty of more than 110 hours he rejoined the race action on the following day and was able to complete every stage without further problems, since then.
On the second day, the pairings started into the marathon stage what means that they had to prepare their vehicles in the evening for the coming day without their mechanics. The two MINI JCW Rally pairings helped one another and were well-prepared when starting into the third stage. But the stage had to be stopped by the organisers early as torrential rain began to fall that turned the entire stage into mud and consequently, a lot of cars got stuck. Only three vehicles – among them the two MINI pairings – made it to the finish without encountering problems.
Today’s fourth stage took the drivers in a loop around the city of Astrakhan. Back in the bivouac the X-raid team could cheer about the fact that Al-Rajhi and Gottschalk took the overall lead in the Silk Way Rally. Meanwhile, Roma convinced with good stage results. After having finished fifth on day two he added two third places to his tally in the following stages.
Yazeed Al-Rajhi: “We are delighted with having taken the lead what demonstrates that you never should get up – even if you have lost some time on day one. We opted for a very controlled approach in the previous stages and tried to avoid making mistakes. And we are really happy with our strategy. We hope to be able to defend our lead in the coming stages and that things will keep on running as flawlessly for us as they did so far. But there still are three long days to go and tomorrow we will have to contest the longest stage of the entire rally. Furthermore, the weather also makes for difficult conditions. It’s raining a lot and consequently, the track often is very slippery.”
“Unfortunately I still have got stomach problems that forced me to take a five-minute rest, today. But I found a good rhythm, afterwards, and succeeded in securing a good result. Apart from that everything is fine – the MINI runs perfectly and the team does a fantastic job. I’m really happy that Yazeed took the lead for the team. I’m glad to be contesting this rally, although the result isn’t too good.”
There still are another three stages to be contested by the drivers. On Friday, the rally will be finished at Moscow.
Silk Way Rally Result SS4:
1. M. Serradori (FRA) / F. Lurquin (BEL) MCM – 4h 15m 43s
2. Y. Al-Rajhi (KSA) / T. Gottschalk (GER) MINI JCW Rally – 4h 15m 44s
3. N. Roma (ESP) / A. Haro (ESP) MINI JCW Rally – 4h 17m 51s
4. D. Krotov (RUS) / D. Tsyro (UKR) BMW X3 – 4h 34m 05s
5. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 4h 34m 39s
Silk Way Rally Overall result after SS4:
1. Y. Al-Rajhi (KSA) / T. Gottschalk (GER) MINI JCW Rally – 14h 48m 09s
2. M. Serradori (FRA) / F. Lurquin (BEL) MCM – 15h 34m 38s
3. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 15h 44m 03s
4. D. Krotov (RUS) / D. Tsyro (UKR) BMW X3 – 16h 23m 39s
5. A. Rudskoy (RUS) / E. Zagorodniuk (RUS) G-Force – 18h 32m 33s
20. N. Roma (ESP) / A. Haro (ESP) MINI JCW Rally – 118h 10m 47s