– Frenchman Alphand and Poland’s Przygonski round off top three places for X-raid
– Qatar’s Al-Attiyah hits engine trouble after winning first section of stage from Aktau
– Kazakh Chernenkov tops T2 standings; Pena Campo ahead in T3 classification
Four Minis dominated the classification after the opening 280.35km of competitive action in Rally Kazakhstan, round five of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, between Aktau City and the Caspian Sea resort of Kenderly on Monday.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah had been the fastest driver through the opening 90km section of the stage by 12 seconds but his demise with a second successive engine-related issue paved the way for Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi to move into an overnight lead of 2min 04sec in his X-raid MINI John Cooper Works Rally.
The Saudi said: « It was a very fast first stage and everything was okay. The first part was fast and smooth and it became more technical on the second part to the beach and then fast to the finish. I started the stage from eighth place and overtook several cars including Nasser and (Boris) Gadasin. »
Frenchman Luc Alphand was his closest rival in second place with the new Mini Buggy and FIA World Cup leader Jakub Przygonski held third overall, 2min 38sec further behind, in his Mini John Cooper Works Rally.
Przygonski said: « From the first stage we were opening all the day and it was a nice day. We enjoy it. Sometimes there was some tricky navigation but we were trying to push. »
« We just have to pass Harry Hunt on the first stage. It was the first stage in Kazakhstan after the break and everyone was a little nervous,