– Just two more special stages to be contested
– Al-Rajhi /Gottschalk now second
As yesterday’s special stage had to be cancelled due to a sandstorm, the pleasant anticipation of today’s stage was even bigger.
At the end of the 425-kilometre special stage, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) / Timo Gottschalk (GER) finished second, followed by Russian pairing Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov. Meanwhile, Harry Hunt (GBR) and Andreas Schulz (GER) had to settle for finishing sixth. Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ) / Anton Nikolaev (RUS) crossed the line in eighth position, with Bauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ) and Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS) coming 12th. After the stage Sébastien Loeb received a four-hour time penalty for having missed two waypoints. Due to this decision, all the five Mini ALL4 Racing vehicles gained a position in the overall standings.
In the night from Tuesday to Wednesday at Dunhuang, a sandstorm came in and partly reduced the vision to less than 100 metres. As the helicopters mustn’t take off, in these conditions, the special stage had to be cancelled and the competitors to Jiayuguan cruised on the service route. The city also was hit by the sandstorm but fortunately, the weather improved overnight and the pairings could start into the 12th special stage, to Alashan.
Al-Rajhi und Vasilyev met several times, during the course of the stage. “As the track was extremely wavy and didn’t suit our car well we were aware that we couldn’t push,