It seems that the Schwarz and Schulz couple of Team Germany 1 is in coming age this year. After winning the first and the fifth leg of the Transsyberia Rally they took another challenge: to take the first place at the sixth special stage, held just today close to the capital of Novosibirsk. With their 385 hp Porsche Cayenne S it wasn’t very hard for them to surpass the French team, Christian Lavieille and Francois Borsotti, by 4.14minutes. This special drive was held on 78 km of small country roads with steady , tight and curved portions.
Press release after the jump!
Armin Schwarz and Andi Schulz of Team Germany 1 are picking up momentum. After they had won the first and the fifth leg of the Transsyberia Rally powered by Sony Ericsson, they went on to also conquer the first place at today’s sixth special stage, which was run close to the Siberian capital of Novosibirsk. In their 385hp Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia, Schwarz and Schulz edged Christian Lavieille and Francois Borsotto by 4.14 minutes. The French team took runner-up ahead of Team Russia 1 with Denis Levyatov and Sergey Talantsev. The special stage led over 78 kilometres of small country roads and tracks through fields. It consisted of fast stretches and narrow, twisty, bumpy sections. High grass made navigation difficult over considerable distances. The thirteen fastest times were set by Porsche Cayenne teams.
With today’s win, Armin Schwarz gave himself a wonderful 45th birthday present: “It was a superb stage. We didn’t take big risks and stayed calm and collected. Still, the quick passages were fantastic fun. The Cayenne didn’t give us a single problem over the route. Now at half-way I feel optimistic for the rest of the Transsyberia Rally. I’m very much looking forward to the coming days in Mongolia.”
The second-placed pairing was also satisfied. Christian Lavieille said: “Francois did a great job of navigating. After the first 20 kilometre we had reached the front of the field. But we held back today and didn’t go full bore. In several places there were some really rough bumps. Our main objective was to get the car to the finish intact. It worked.”
In the overall classification, Said al Hajri and Tim Trenker of Team Middle East have taken over the lead after securing the fourth quickest time today. Team France follows with a gap of 1.36 minutes. Lars Kern and Daniel van Kan from Team Germany 3 sit third, 8.26 minutes behind. Drivers of Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia vehicles occupy the first eight places. Team Italy, however, has retired. At arguably the world’s toughest marathon rally for near-standard vehicles, Antonio Tognana and Carlo Cassina drove over a bump too quickly. Afterwards, Tognana complained of back pain. The Italian was taken to Novosibirsk hospital for treatment before being flown home with suspected spine injuries.
Further comments from Porsche pilots:
Dave Morley: “Just as we were preparing to start the emergency vehicle took off. We had to wait for quite some time before we could leave. At first we thought the leg was cancelled but this didn’t happen. As in the previous days we drove very conservatively. To be honest we are getting slower by the day. For this reason there weren’t any surprises in the form of potholes or bumps. The biggest problem was again the dusty road. Such thick dust is downright dangerous. You simply can’t see a thing.”
Pau Soler: “The special stage was very tricky. We found it very difficult to find the right way. The tall grass and dust didn’t help much. As we got on the road there were many wheel tracks and that was confusing. After the first check point things went much better. The Porsche ran beautifully again. We were able to solve all the minor problems we experienced. The mechanics did a great job.”
Pedro Gameiro: “Today we paid a high price for heading out as the first car on stage. Navigating through the high grass was incredibly difficult. But we made it. I think we just have to tick this day off and forget it.”
Carles Celma: “I enjoyed today’s stage. But at the finish I was simply tired. The fast passages require huge concentration and navigation was not always easy. The tall grass and dust didn’t make the situation better. You really had to be careful not make a mistake. We have several very long stages coming up so we treated the car with care and didn’t overtake. But that was almost impossible today. We did our best to bring home a good result – I think it worked.”
The seventh of a total of 14 legs runs from the Siberian capital of Novosibirsk on 17 July to the first camp in Kosh Agash. The special stage of the seventh leg has been cancelled, due to Team Italy’s accident which has left only one emergency vehicle available. The Transsyberia Rally started on 11th July on Moscow’s Red Square and finishes on 25th July in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar after a total of over 7,000 kilometres.
Overall classification Transsyberia Rally 2008 after the 6th of 14 legs
1. Al Hajri/Trenker Team Middle East Porsche 4:15.19 hrs
2. Lavieille/Borsotto Team France Porsche 0:01.36 hrs behind
3. Kern/van Kan Team Germany 3 Porsche 0:08.26
4. Gameiro/Figueiredo Team Portugal Porsche 0:24.46
5. Schwarz/Schulz Team Germany 1 Porsche 0:26.35
6. Levyatov/Talantsev Team Russia 1 Porsche 1:08.32
7. Pfeil-Schneider/Steuer Colombian Arrow Porsche 1:40.16
8. Abdulla/Lutteri Team Qatar Porsche 1:55.49
9. Millen/Godby Team USA Porsche 2:17.50
10. Baier/Steinbring Teambuctou Toyota 2:19.54