– Halpern finishes third, Krotov fourth. .
– Joao Ferreira takes seventh place in the T3 class
It was a successful debut for the X-raid team at Mexico’s Sonora Rally. The event was part of the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship for the first time. Sebastian Halpern and Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue secured a sensational third place. Their teammates Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov were also convincing and were happy about fourth place. The two X-raid YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype crews Joao Ferreira / Filipe Palmeiro and Annett Quandt / Lisette Bakker finished the rally in seventh and ninth place.
Halpern showed from the start that he wanted to have a say in the podium positions. The Argentinean found the right balance between attack and risk avoidance. Unlike many of his competitors, he made it through the special stages without any major problems. Thus, the MINI JCW Rally Plus driver took over third place overall after the third stage. A great performance was also shown by his co-driver Graue, who mastered the difficult navigation very well. In the FIA World Rally Raid Championship standings, Halpern was able to move up to fourth place thanks to his third place in Mexico.
Krotov also impressed with a consistent performance, with which he secured fourth place overall. On the penultimate stage he secured second place and thus made it into the Top 5.
X-raid Yamaha supported Team
Ferreira experienced a rollercoaster ride at the Sonora Rally. After the first stage, the Portuguese was still in second place overall. But technical problems on the following day threw him back almost to the end of the overall standings. He finished the fourth special stage in second place again. Although he worked his way up a bit, the side-by-side driver had to settle for seventh place. In the T3 classification of the FIA World Rally Raid Championship he could improve by one position to sixth.
For Annett Quandt it was the first event she competed in together with Bakker. The two quickly formed a good team and secured ninth place.
Sebastian Halpern: « We are very happy about this podium finish. It is the first for the MINI JCW Rally Plus in the FIA World Cup. The navigation was very difficult throughout the rally. But it wasn’t easy for us drivers either. The X-raid team did a great job. Now we are preparing for the rally in Argentina. »
Joao Ferreira: « What a great rally. I really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. It had a bit of everything. A bit more dunes would have been nice. »
Annett Quandt: « We had five really great days here in Mexico. Together with Lisette I had a lot of fun. I think we got a good result for our first rally together. I hope there will be more dunes on the programme next time. »
Sonora Rally overall standings T1-class : 1. N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel – Toyota – 10h 29m 55s ; 2. Y. Al-Rajhi 7 T. Gottschalk – Toyota – 10h 36m 17s ; 3. S. Halpern / R. Graue – MINI JCW Rally Plus – 10h 44m 13s ; 4. D. Krotov / K. Zhiltsov – MINI JCW Rally Plus – 10h 55m 43s ; 5. J.Yacopini / D. Oliveras – Toyota – 11h 01m 30s…
Overall standings – T3-class : 1. M. Guthrie / K. Walch – MCE-5 – 11h 17m 24s ; 2. M. Ekström / E. Bergkvist – Can-Am – 11h 24m 02s ; 3. A. Jones / G. Gugelmin – Can-Am – 11h 28m 10s ; 4. C. Gutierrez / J. Moreno – Can-Am – 11h 30m 02s ; 5. F. Contardo / J. Latrach – Can-Am – 11h 58m 54s… 7. J. Ferreira / F. Palmeiro – X-raid YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype – 12h 16m 18s… 9. A. Quandt / L. Bakker – X-raid YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype – 13h 00m 31s…