It seems that this year the couple Schwarz-Schulz of Team Germany with their Porsche Cayenne S is invincible. Being the fastest in the Transsyberia Rally 2008 for the fourth time in row brought them the second place in the general classification and an increasing distance from their direct competitor. The Lavieille-Borsotto team of France, the number one in the classification, finished the leg 17 minutes behind Schwarz and Schulz. The second place in the race was gained by Kern and Daniel van Kan of Team Germany 3 who left behind Darvi and Altai with 4 minutes.
Press release after the jump!
Armin Schwarz and Andi Schulz of Team Germany 1 were the fastest of the Transsyberia Rally 2008 powered by Sony Ericsson for the fourth time on leg four. In their Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia the pair increased the gap to their direct opponents in the overall classification and moved up from third into second. Lars Kern and Daniel van Kan of Team Germany 3 secured second on the 208 kilometre special stage between Darvi and Altai with a gap of around four minutes. Christian Lavieille and Francois Borsotto of Team France finished about 17 minutes behind Schwarz/Schulz, but still lead with an almost two hour advantage.
“During today’s leg we wanted to show that we could drive in a controlled way and still beat everyone,” said a pleased Armin Schwarz. “We drove the first 90 kilometres flat out until we could see no dust ahead of us. On the second section of the stage our aim was to defend the lead. Everything was going well until 20 kilometres before the finish, where our oil sump was damaged on a very rocky section.” Co-driver Andi Schulz put in an immaculate job: “I was unhappy after yesterday’s special stage. So today we wanted to show what we could do and come first. And this we did. We put in a clean drive and we ticked off all the checkpoints of the roadbook exactly.”
Team France drove another perfect leg. “We experienced no major problems with the vehicle. Luckily! Because tomorrow is the longest special stage of the entire Transsyberia Rally. Everything has to be perfect for this. That’s why we didn’t want to risk too much. We’re happy to have reached the finish without any damages. That makes up optimistic for tomorrow,” Christian Lavieille analysed. “For this stage, which was partly very tough, our car is in excellent condition. Today’s leg was not especially difficult but it was technically very demanding. Again I was amazed at what the Cayenne can withstand,” added co-pilot Francois Borsotto.
Ryan Millen and Colin Godby from Team USA lost a lot of time. They went full risk, ripped off their suspension and lost nine hours. “It’s a real shame. We were at full bore and could have made up places in the overall classification,” said a disappointed Colin Godby at the finish of the leg. Adel Abdulla and Norbert Lutteri from Team Qatar lost their way and did major damage to their vehicle. Both were uninjured, but it is as yet uncertain whether they can continue the rally.
Further comments from Porsche pilots:
Carles Celma (Team Germany 2): “The beautiful countryside didn’t quite make up for our bad luck today. Unfortunately we expected a little too much from our shock absorbers. Then we missed a hidden checkpoint which earned us a one-hour penalty. But we’re not giving up. In Mongolia many things can happen at such a rally.”
Lars Kern (Team Germany 3): “It couldn’t have gone better today. During the stage we caught Armin Schwarz and followed him more or less to the finish. We didn’t have any problems with navigating. We stuck to our roadbook instructions and finished second. This is how all the stages should be: quick and selective. That was a fantastic day.”
Christian Pfeil-Schneider (Colombian Arrow): “Today’s leg was very nice to drive. We had fun. But you shouldn’t underestimate it. Several passages were extremely difficult – for instance the last 30 kilometres. We came through well and we’re happy with our result. And most importantly we brought our car through intact.”
Pau Soler (Team Spain): “Everything was going well until about 30 kilometres before the finish. We saw Ryan Millen stuck there. Of course we tried to help him but unfortunately without success. We damaged our rear suspension doing this but luckily were still able to finish in fourth.”
Pedro Figueiredo (Team Portugal): “Today was bad for us. This morning we wrecked our rear shock absorbers during the transport leg. We had to start the special stage with this handicap. Then our right-rear suspension broke en route and we still had to drive 160 kilometres. I’m happy to see the finish. Above all, the last 30 kilometres were incredibly tough. I’ve never experienced such a tough and selective stage in my life.”
Hirohisa Kaneko (Team Japan): “We wanted to preserve our car for the next three days so we didn’t drive flat-out. This gave us a chance to appreciate the wonderful scenery along the way.”
The twelfth leg of the Transsyberia Rally runs over 529 kilometres from Altai to Bayank-hongor. The 407 kilometre special stage is the longest of the entire journey. The Transsyberia Rally started on 11th July on Moscow’s Red Square and finishes on 25th July in the Mon-golian capital of Ulaanbaatar after a total of over 7,000 kilometres.
Overall classification Transsyberia Rally 2008 after the 11th of 14 legs
1. Lavieille/Borsotto Team France Porsche 16:27.33 hrs
2. Schwarz/Schulz Team Germany 1 Porsche 1:59.47 hrs behind
3. Gameiro/Figueiredo Team Portugal Porsche 2:35.17
4. Soler/Peinado Team Spain Porsche 2:37.57
5. Levyatov/Talantsev Team Russia 1 Porsche 3:33.35
6. Kern/van Kan Team Germany 3 Porsche 3:34.44
7. Celma/Unger Team Germany 2 Porsche 6:37.46
8. Baier/Steinbring Teambuctou Toyota 7:39.02
9. Kern/Binder Team Pro Porsche 8:13.07
10. Pfeil-Schneider/Steuer Colombian Arrow Porsche 9:08.42