ADDC: Six MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles in the Top 10
The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the second round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, has been running for three days, now, and currently three MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles are holding top-five positions! Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi and his German co-driver Timo Gottschalk currently hold second place, followed by Russian pairing Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov in third. Behind them, Jakub Przygonski (POL) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) currently hold fourth position. And there are more MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles in the top ten: with the second stage contested, Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Michel Périn (FRA) hold sixth position, right ahead of Bryce Menzies (USA) and Andreas Schulz (GER). While Sheik Khalid Al-Qassimi and his co-driver Khalid Al Kendi (both UAE) are ninth. Jutta Kleinschmidt (GER) and Tina Thörner (SWE) currently hold 12th position, with the X-raid buggy and German pairing Stephan Schott / Holm Schmidt in 20th position completes the X-raid line-up.
The weather in the past days wasn’t exactly what you would expect during the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. In the days prior to the rally it was extremely hot but then, the temperature dropped and the rain began to fall. “Today we even had to turn on the windscreen wipers,” said Przygonski.
Al-Rajhi already raced the MINI ALL4 Racing several years ago but since then, the car was massively enhanced. “We used the first days to better familiarise ourselves with the MINI,” revealed the Saudi who finished second in the first two stages. “Stage one with the dunes suited me better. Today, you had to take some risks to be fast. But I want to complete the special stages without taking risks. Tomorrow’s stage should be better for me and we will push.” Three minutes behind him, Vasilyev is waiting for his chance.
Having won the prologue and finished third and fourth in the desert stages, Przygonski is happy with his start into the 2016 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. “I was really delighted with having won the prologue,” the Pole beamed even two days later. “The first stage through the dunes also went really well for me but the second day in the dunes was tough – the special stage was long and driving fast wasn’t easy.”
Despite his successful cross-country rallying start in the 2016 Dakar, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge represents virgin soil for Mikko Hirvonen. “Complete special stages in sand and dunes – that’s new to me,” admitted the Finn. “We nearly never get stuck – and if we do it’s only for a very short time. But I still have my difficulties when it comes to finding the perfect balance between rhythm and speed.” Meanwhile, Bryce Menzies made a good MINI ALL4 Racing debut. Throughout his first cross-country rally so far, he has been holding top-10 positions.
For Kleinschmidt and Thörner in the buggy, covering as many kilometres as possible represents the main goal. “The terrain currently is difficult as we only race on and through choppy dunes,” said the German. “If we had the chance of gaining momentum to achieve higher speeds it would be okay. Here, however, you have to brake too much. Furthermore, we had some bad luck. Yesterday we were stopped by two flat tyres and today we got stuck.”
Tomorrow, the competitors will have to contest the third of the event’s five stages. As it was the case on the previous days, the 280-kilometre special stage once again will mainly feature sand and dunes.ADDC - Result SS2:
1st N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) – Toyota 3h 54m 14s
2nd Y. Al-Rajhi (SAU) / T. Gottschalk (GER) – MINI ALL4 Racing 4h 02m 17s
3rd V. Vasilyev (RUS) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) – MINI ALL4 Racing 4h 02m 27s
4th J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Colsoul (BEL) – MINI ALL4 Racing 3h 32m 02s
5th M. Dabrowski (POL) / J. Czachor (POL) – Toyota 4h 11m 48s
7th M. Hirvonen (FIN) / M. Périn (FRA) - MINI ALL4 Racing 4h 14m 55s
8th K. SH Al-Qassimi (UAE) / K. Al Kendi (UAE) – MINI ALL4 Racing 4h 15m 54m
9th B. Menzies (USA) / A. Schulz (GER) - MINI ALL4 Racing 4h 19m 50s
14th J. Kleinschmidt (GER) / T. Thörner (SWE) - Buggy 4h 47m 59s
23rd S. Schott (GER) / H. Schmidt (GER) – MINI ALL4 Racing 5h 23m 01s
ADDC – overall standings after stage 2:
1st N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) – Toyota 7h 24m 14s
2nd Y. Al-Rajhi (SAU) / T. Gottschalk (GER) – MINI ALL4 Racing 7h 34m 35s
3rd V. Vasilyev (RUS) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) – MINI ALL4 Racing 7h 37m 44s
4th J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Colsoul (BEL) – MINI ALL4 Racing 7h 39m 03s
5th M. Dabrowski (POL) / J. Czachor (POL) – Toyota 7h 47m 42s
6th M. Hirvonen (FIN) / M. Périn (FRA) - MINI ALL4 Racing 7h 54m 48s
7th B. Menzies (USA) / A. Schulz (GER) - MINI ALL4 Racing 7h 55m 57s
9th K. SH Al-Qassimi (UAE) / K. Al Kendi (UAE) – MINI ALL4 Racing 8h 01m 54m
12th J. Kleinschmidt (GER) / T. Thörner (SWE) - Buggy 9h 12m 10s
20th S. Schott (GER) / H. Schmidt (GER) – MINI ALL4 Racing 10h 12m 51s