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MINI wins 2015 Pharaons Rally in dominant style / 2015 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup: round 4, 2015 Pharaons Rally - Nasser Al-Attiyah with MINI ALL4 Racing take the win
The latest in a long line of success for the superb MINI ALL4 Racing car comes after battling through sand and rocky terrain and overcoming tough navigational sections during the five driving stages in the Egyptian desert that go to make up the tough Pharaons Rally (10-16th May).
In full view of the tombs of the Pharaohs, Al-Attiyah drove his MINI ALL4 Racing at a controlled pace in the arid conditions to take third place and with it overall race victory at the finish line. Despite the celebrations, it definitely wasn't an easy victory for the Qatarian.
During Stage Three, along with tough navigation, Al-Attiyah hit a patch of the dreaded fesh-fesh (soft sand dust) and lost valuable minutes getting free of its clutches. Stage Four also threw up the challenge of having to stop in the intense desert heat to change a puncture. Seconds spent standing still soon mount up and, amongst such determined competition, this can make massive differences to the finish order and eventual result even though there still may be three or more stages to complete.
"We kept the control and didn't make any mistakes," said an obviously delighted Nasser Al-Attiyah. "I love this race and love to come back to Egypt. And, of course, love to win. It's a good feeling to win the Rally and celebrate in front of the Pyramids. We had a good strategy from the beginning and we were the leaders from the second day. I'm happy."
Ahead of Al-Attiyah and in second place at the end of Stage 5 was fellow MINI ALL4 Racing crew Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS). During the whole event Vasilyev and Al-Attiyah in their MINI ALL4 Racing were constantly fighting the conditions and stage positions.
"The bumpy road was hard for the body" said Vasilyev after Stage Four, before perfectly summing up the Pharaons Rally with: "This race is really special because the battle is quite hard and the differences are small compared to other rallies. It's very interesting and exciting. We are happy to be here and happy to be on the podium. We show we could fight and we finished a very good race. And now? Fight must go on!"
The Dutch pairing of Erik Van Loon (NLD) and Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) had a difficult relationship with 'Lady Luck' throughout the Pharaons Rally. But at race end they secured a solid and deserved seventh place.
Meanwhile the MINI ALL4 Racing of Adam Malysz (POL) and co-driver Xavier Panseri (FRA) looked set to figure high in the final race result until Stage 4, when a partially hidden rock ended all hopes. While the unfortunate crash put paid to any further racing activity, the two occupants were uninjured thanks to the safety features incorporated within the design of the MINI ALL4 Racing.
Today's result sees MINI with its MINI ALL4 Racing retain a strong challenge on the 2015 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. Vladimir Vasilyev leads with 155 points. Al-Attiyah is in second place (120 points) and Erik Van Loon equal fourth (64).
2015 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, round four:
2015 Pharaons Rally
MINI ALL4 Racing final positions at official race end:
Position/ Driver /Co-driver
1st /Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) /Mathieu Baumel (FRA)
3rd /Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/ Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS)
7th /Erik Van Loon (NLD)/ Wouter Rosegaar (NLD)
Race calendar: 2015 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
20/02 – 22/02 Baja Russia
27/03 – 02/04 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
18/04 – 24/04 Sealine Cross-Country Rally Qatar
10/05 – 17/05 Pharaons Rally
25/06 – 28/06 Italian Baja
24/07 – 26/07 Baja Aragón
13/08 – 16/08 HunGarian Baja
27/08 – 30/08 Baja Poland
03/10 – 09/10 Rallye du Maroc
22/10 – 24/10 Baja Portalegre 500
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