Team France takes the lead in Transsyberia Rally
It looks like Team Germany 1 car driven by Armin Schwarz and Andi Schulz have lost the lead in front of Team France car driven by Christian Lavieille and Francois and Pedro Gameiro and Pedro Figueiredo (Team Portugal). The French team and their Porsche Cayenne S, finished the 10th leg, and one of the toughest, on the first place with an advantage of over 4:15 minutes in front of the Portuguese team. Team Germany1 had some bad luck: they were in the lead but after they missed a checkpoint, a one-hour penalty was received which led them to the third position.
Christian Lavieille and Francois Borsotto of Team France have further increased their lead in the overall classification of the Transsyberia Rally 2008 powered by Sony Ericsson. In their 385 hp Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia they won leg ten of arguably the toughest marathon rally for near-standard offroad vehicles with a 4:15 minute advantage over Pedro Gameiro and Pedro Figueiredo (Team Portugal), with the Portuguese still holding second in the overall classification. Armin Schwarz and Andi Schulz (Team Germany 1) were first over the finish line, but missed a checkpoint and received a one-hour time penalty. In the overall classification the two Germans still rank third.
“That was a difficult but nice special stage,” said an enthusiastic Christian Lavieille at the finish. “In the beginning there were many chances to get lost. Often you took a wrong turn and only realised it much later. All in all everything ran well and we were able to increase our lead. The car came home without a scratch and that is always the most important thing.”
The second-placed Team Portugal was also not always able to immediately find the right direction. “Again today we realised it’s not always easy finding your way around Mongolia,” admitted Pedro Gameiro. “Co-drivers simply need a huge amount of experience in this type of terrain. We lost about ten minutes with a small navigation error. But that’s not so bad. We finished amongst the top group. We’re satisfied with our result. Tomorrow is the next leg. Let’s see what’s we can do.”
Putting in a super drive was also Team USA with Ryan Millen, son of last year’s winner Rod Millen, and Colin Godby. The pair initially took a wrong turn in the first kilometres but made up ground later on. “Everything ran perfectly after our little detour – but it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park – even when navigating was a little easier than yesterday. The difficulty lay in the fact that the better surface was always slightly off the main track. Towards the end it became extremely fast, muddy and slippery. Now that’s what I call fun!” said Godby.
The quickest car on the stage today was the #10 Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia. Armin Schwarz and Andi Schulz, however, missed a control point. Instead of winning the leg, the two were handed a 60 minute penalty which relegated them to eleventh. “That was annoying. We wanted to win time and not forfeit it. Unfortunately we also had two punctures and a problem with the rear shock absorbers. Without these minor errors we probably would have been 20 minutes faster. But overall the stage was great fun. In the very fast passages our car ran extremely well with precise handling.”
Further comments from Porsche pilots:
Thomas Steuer (Colombian Arrow): “For safety reasons we ended today’s leg early. Heavy rain set in after about one and a half hours and our windscreen wipers gave up. We decided to accept the fact that we’d receive a penalty for missing the checkpoint and simply drove straight to the finish.”
Pau Soler (Team Spain): “Today’s special stage was certainly not easy. The rain shower turned tracks into small rivers. You had to be very careful not to make mistakes. Naturally navigating was very difficult. We also made a couple of small mistakes but we luckily didn’t take any major wrong turns. At least we reached the finish in the first five.”
Carles Celma (Team Germany 2): “At the beginning we had to turn around after a couple of kilometres. We’d driven the wrong way. This can happen. Afterwards it all went well. I liked this leg. Compared to some of the other stages this was very fast and technical and that was fun. But it certainly takes a lot of concentration.”
Lars Kern (Team Germany 3): “This was the first special stage that I really enjoyed. Normally every ten minutes I would ask Daniel when we’d reach the finish. Today I couldn’t get enough. Unfortunately we lost our way after the first few kilometres and some other vehicles could overtake us. There was no chance to overtake in the rain. But afterwards we caught and passed them.”
The eleventh leg of the Transsyberia Rally runs from Darvi to Altay on Tuesday and totals 358 kilometres, 208 of which are special stage. 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 10th of 14 legs
1. Lavieille/Borsotto Team France Porsche 12:27.56 hrs
2. Gameiro/Figueiredo Team Portugal Porsche 0:51.03 hrs behind
3. Schwarz/Schulz Team Germany 1 Porsche 2:16.39
4. Soler/Peinado Team Spain Porsche 2:31.08
5. Levyatov/Talantsev Team Russia 1 Porsche 3:13.38
6. Abdulla/Lutteri Team Qatar Porsche 3:19.27
7. Millen/Godby Team USA Porsche 3:24.23
8. Kern/van Kan Team Germany 3 Porsche 3:14.33
9. Celma/Unger Team Germany 2 Porsche 4:28.12
10. Baier/Steinbring Teambuctou Toyota 5:34.50