Bengaluru, July 23: Overdrive Racing's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah extended his advantage to an unofficial 4min 34sec after the first half of a Marathon stage between Astrakhan and Elista on the second day of the FIA Silk Way Rally in southern Russia.
But the stage win came at a cost and the Toyota Hilux driver and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel completed around 240km of the 365km timed section in two-wheel drive.
With no service assistance permitted on a Marathon stage, the team that is running with the support of Red Bull, the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation, Ooredoo Qatar and Toyota GAZOO Racing faces the prospect of tackling the second half of the stage in two-wheel drive on Monday.
England's Harry Hunt and Saudi Arabia's Yazeed Al-Rajhi remain in close contention for the lead and the Saudi was second fastest on the day's stage to close the gap on Hunt.
Al Attiyah was first on the road for the second successive day and the Qatari maintained his advantage at PC1, after 148km, from Al Rajhi and Hunt.
Joan Roma had failed to finish the stage on Saturday after complaining about neck pain, but the Spaniard was back in harness for the second special and started out from 11th on the road. He finished the stage in fourth place.
Al Attiyah kept his lead through PC2 (328km) and survived the muddy conditions to take the stage win in a time of 3hrs 12min 11sec.
But the Qatari had sustained transmission issues on the track and completed the day in two-wheel drive.
With no service assistance permitted at the overnight bivouac in Elista on the first half of the Marathon stage, the crew faced the prospect of the return to Astrakhan on Monday in two-wheel drive.
(With Team Overdrive Racing inputs).