At the Rally Kazakhstan, the third and penultimate round in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, two cars built by X-raid made it onto the podium. Stéphane (FRA) and Andrea Peterhansel (GER) secured second place in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy, behind Nasser Al-Attiyah. Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) finished in third place in the MINI John Cooper Works Rally. The MSK Rally Team with the two Russians Denis Krotov and Dmytro Tsyro finished in a very good fifth place overall in the MINI JCW Rally.
This year’s rally asked a lot of man and machine, with none of the crews surviving the six stages without any problems. The rocky terrain placed a great strain on the tyres and the dunes also caused one or two cars to lose time.
But the dress rehearsal for Stéphane and Andrea Peterhansel in the MINI JCW Buggy can be regarded as a success. After their win at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in the MINI JCW Rally, the married couple finished in a very good second place. On the very first stage, one of their tyres burst on a rocky section, which also damaged the MINI badly. The duo was unable to fully make up the 15 minutes they lost, and finished second, five minutes behind Al-Attiyah.
Przygonski, who returned to the MINI JCW Rally for Kazakhstan, was among the frontrunners from the start and was in second place after the fourth stage. But on the penultimate special stage, the duo slammed into a hole with full force. Fortunately, Przygonski and Gottschalk were unscathed and were even able to complete the special stage. Since other teams also battled with problems, the MINI JCW Rally duo only slid down into third place. The X-raid team’s mechanics managed to repair the MINI in time for the final special stage, enabling Przygonski to defend his third place.
Stéphane Peterhansel :
“Unfortunately, we had the issue with the tyres on the first day, the first two days were a little complicated for us overall. But things were better as of day three. The Rally Kazakhstan is different from all the other events: the average speed is very high here and Andrea and I had to get used to that first. Overall, working with Andrea is getting better all the time. We are gaining more experience together and the timing is good. We’re happy with second place.”
“It was a good race for us and we are pleased with third place. We could have done better, but we made a big mistake yesterday and we damaged the car pretty badly. Fortunately, it was possible to repair the MINI. Overall the speed was good, but we didn’t have the luck to go with it!”
X-raid team principal Sven Quandt:
“It was a crazy race with a lot of mixed feelings. Stéphane was unlucky on the first day and was unable to make up the time on the fast sections. On the final two days, Andrea and Stéphane were used to the navigation and tracks, and clinched second place. Kuba had more luck at first. But then an error saw them drive into a big hole and lose valuable time. At least they were able to rescue third place.“
The final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies is the Rally du Maroc in October. In the FIA overall standings, Stéphane Peterhansel is currently in second place (51 points), behind Al-Attiyah (60 points). The next round of the FIA Cross Country Bajas World Cup will be the Italian Baja on June 20th.
Rally Kazakhstan - Overall result
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota - 17h 58m 06s
2. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / Andrea Peterhansel (GER) MINI JCW Buggy - 18h 03m 27s
3. Kuba Przygonski (POL) / Timo Gottschalk (GER) MINI John Cooper Works Rally - 18h 45m 56s
4. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE) / Marek Sykora (SVK) Ford - 19h 27m 54s
5. Dennis Krotov (RUS) / Dmytro Tsyro (RUS) MINI John Cooper Works Rally - 19h 43m 18s
Source X-Raid's official press release