– Al-Rajhi wins stage eight
– Five Mini All4 Racing hold top-10 positions in the overall rankings
On the eighth stage, from Bortala to Urumqi, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) were the fastest in the 256.93-kilometres special stage and secured the first stage win for the Mini All4 Racing.
Russian pairing Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov came fifth, with Harry Hunt (GBR) / Andreas Schulz (GER) and Bauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ) / Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS) finishing sixth and seventh respectively. The fifth MINI ALL4 Racing pairing, Rakhimbayev (KAZ) / Anton Nikolaev (RUS), completed the great Mini All4 Racing result by finishing ninth.
After the rest day on Friday in Almaty, Kazakhstan, that offered the service team the opportunity to prepare the five Mini All4 Racing vehicles for the second week of the event, the pairings again had to cope with quite a challenge. Following a short 76-kilometre special stage they crossed the border into China. In addition to the document control at the border, the drivers also were provided with a Chinese driving license. This also applied to all the other members of the rally baggage that crossed the border at the wheel of a vehicle. These licenses are temporary and only may be used in combination of a valid driving license. Furthermore, the service vehicles were equipped with Chinese number plates. Today, the field hit the road to Urumqi. With hindsight one of the most special stages of the rally so far. “The ambient temperatures rose up to 40° C,