Kazakhstan Leg3: Al Attiyah extends lead as Al Rajhi rolls

Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel © DR

Nasser Al Attiyah takes another stage win to extend his advantage on Rally Kazakhstan while Yazeed Al Rajhi drops time after rolling in the section.

Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel continue to head the Rally Kazakhstan leaderboard, another stage win giving them an impressive 11 minute and 55 second advantage.

Bernhard Ten Brinke and Tom Colsoul have moved up into second and are in a close battle with Jakub Przygonski and Timo Gottschalk, the crews split by just 27 seconds after over nine hours of competition.

Today’s 327.47 kilometre selective section provided another fresh challenge for the crews as they headed into the Mangystau region to the east of Kenderly. Al Attiyah once again opened the road and the Qatari racked up his third consecutive stage win in the Toyota Hilux Overdrive. « It was not an easy stage, very different to the last two days and more technical, » he said. « I was quite happy to be pushing hard, but as first car made two or three mistakes finding the road. »

Ten Brinke set another top time, the Dutchman second fastest and three minutes 36 seconds down on the benchmark set by Al Attiyah. He and co-driver Tom Colsoul have powered up to second from fourth last night, despite stopping with a slow puncture. « The stage was good but the dunes at the start were a little rough and there was a lot of camel grass, » said the Hilux Overdrive driver. « The driving was good, we had a clean run on the rocky pistes and Tom did a good job. »

Przygonski had a slow start in the dunes and completed the section in third, but the Polish reigning World Cup champion has dropped a position to third today, albeit only 27 seconds adrift of Ten Brinke. « We were a bit too slow in the sand at the start, » he said. « We had one puncture but gained time in the last section on the fast tracks. »

Stéphane and Andrea Peterhansel have moved up the leaderboard courtesy of Al Rajhi’s time loss. « The stage was more technical today, but it was all ok for us, » said the Frenchman who finished fourth and overnights in the same position. « We had to stop once to clean the windscreen; with the wipers it was making a real mess. A few kilometres before the end I made a mistake with the navigation because I thought I knew where we were going; I should have listened to Andrea! »

Miroslav Zapletal and Marek Sykora have climbed to fifth in their Ford F-150 Evo and they have a comfortable lead over the Russian MINI crew of Denis Krotov/Dmytro Tsyro. Having rolled out of third position and dropped over an hour into seventh, Yazeed Al Rajhi said: « We pushed, and 30 kilometres into the section passed Peterhansel. We then passed Przygonski at 60 kilometres to follow Ten Brinke. Then on a tight corner the wheels went into a ditch and we rolled. » Both Al Rajhi and co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz were unhurt in the incident.

Andrey Cherednikov and Ignat Falkov continue to uphold honours for Kazakhstan and hold eighth position ahead of the Turkmenistan crew of Gurbanberdi Danatarov/Rafael Gaynulin. Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin missed out on a third consecutive stage win in the T3 category but continue to lead and are 10th in the overall classification. Mohammed Al Meer and Alexey Kuzmich maintain their T2 advantage at the mid-point of the rally.

The fourth leg of Rally Kazakhstan, the third event in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, is the second longest competitively and covers a 399.24 kilometre section which takes the crews back to the bivouac in Aktau for the remainder of the event.

Rally Kazakhstan – Provisional results after Leg 3
1. Nasser Al Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (Toyota Hilux Overdrive), 9hr 15min 28.0sec
2. Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul (Toyota Hilux Overdrive), 9hr 27min 23.0sec
3. Jakub Przygonski/Timo Gottschalk (MINI John Cooper Works Rally), 9hr 27min 50.0sec
4. Stéphane Peterhansel/Andrea Peterhansel (MINI John Cooper Works Buggy), 9hr 55min 26.0sec
5. Miroslav Zapletal/Marek Sykora (Ford F-150 Evo), 10hr 21min 05.0sec
6. Denis Krotov/Dmytro Tsyro (MINI John Cooper Works Rally), 10hr 28min 28.0sec
7. Yazeed Al Rajhi/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (Toyota Hilux Overdrive), 10hr 42min 02.0sec
8. Andrey Cherednikov/Ignat Falkov (Ford F-150 Evo), 11hr 13min 44.0sec
9. Gurbanberdi Danatarov/Rafael Gaynulin (MINI John Cooper Works Rally), 12hr 13min 12.0sec
10. Reinaldo Varela/Gustavo Gugelmin (Can Am Maverick), 12hr 33min 22.0sec…