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Silk Way Rally: Fifth stage win puts Al Attiyah in the driver's seat

Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah

Bengaluru, July 12: Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and French navigator Matthieu Baumel extended their outright lead in the 2019 Silk Way Rally to 37min 25sec after claiming a fifth successive stage win on the 364.59km timed section between Ulaanbaatar and Mandalgovi.

Mandalgovi is the capital of the Dundgovi Province of Mongolia and lies around 300km south of the capital on the border of the Gobi Desert.

Al Attiyah has been in a class of his own this week, as he closes in on a first ever victory for himself and Toyota at the gruelling Silk Way Rally.

The three-time Dakar Rally champion beat closest rival Matthieu Serradori by 3min 07sec to claim the stage win and extend his outright lead over the chasing pack headed by China's Kun Lui and Frenchman Jerome Pelichet.

Extends lead

Extends lead

Al Attiyah had won his third successive section with a stage win on the 243km stint into the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar.

The Overdrive Racing Team driver finished the special 6min 13sec in front of Russia's Denis Krotov, despite a flat tyre, and extended his outright lead over China's Kun Lui to 21min 10sec.

Push hard

Push hard

The Qatari said: "Whenever we find ourselves in good conditions we try to push. We were trying to make a gap at the front. It is never easy to open the track but I trust my co-driver Matthieu."

On Friday (July 12), the teams tackle a special stage of 408.15km in a day's route of 411.75km between Mandalgovi and Dalanzadgad in Mongolia.

Longest timed section

Longest timed section

The fourth special comprised a loop around the vast terrain to the east of Ulaanbaatar.

In a day's route of 476.96km, 470.19km were timed against the clock in the longest timed section of the entire event.

Candidate race

Candidate race

The year's Silk Way Rally is a candidate race for possible future inclusion in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. The event finishes in Dunhuang on July 16.

"We did a good job on this long stage. There was no problem with the car and Matthieu did a good job with the navigation. We enjoyed the Mongolian landscape. It really was incredible. We are happy to be doing well at this rally," Al Attiyah added.

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Story first published: Friday, July 12, 2019, 12:53 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 12, 2019
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