The Monster Energy X-raid Team had three reasons to celebrate on the third leg of the Silk Way Rally between Volgograd and Astrakhan on Tuesday. The team’s three cars snatched the top three positions on the day’s special stage.
Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc and Belgian co-driver Jean Marc Fortin secured their first stage victory in a BMW X3 CC, the French duo of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret finished second in the team’s MINI All4 Racing and the Russian pairing of Alexander Mironenko and Sergey Lebedev rounded off the top three in a second BMW X3CC and moved up to second place in the general classification.
The day was about Holowczyc celebrating his first stage victory. He began the special second on the road behind Peterhansel and managed to pass the Frenchman a few kilometres from the finish and extend his advantage in the overall standings.
“I am happy with this day’s victory,” said the Pole. “The car was extremely strong today. Actually I do not like this type of stage. We were shaken the whole time and it was easy to damage the car. But we came through it well.”
Peterhansel looked set to claim his first stage win through the early sections of the special, but a small mistake dropped him behind his teammate. “Shortly before the first dunes, in the camel grass, we got stuck,” admitted Peterhansel. “I selected reverse and then we got stuck on a large clump of camel grass. It was about nine minutes before I was able to get going again. This was very disappointing.”
Mironenko rounded off the successful day for the Trebur-based X-raid team with the third fastest time. He enjoyed a close battle with Aleksandre Zheludov and eventually did enough to claim second place in the overall standings to boot. “The second part of the special was very hard,” admitted the Russian. “We were shaken vigorously, but I was pleased with third place, since this stage was harder than yesterday.”
“Today’s result was very good for us,” said Monster Energy X-raid team boss Sven Quandt. “However, today’s stage was very hard for the cars and it has already taken its toll. It was important to have strong suspension and a good chassis. Our three cars are running like clockwork”
Tomorrow (Wednesday), crews will tackle a 400km loop stage around Astrakhan. Fast tracks will again be part and parcel of the special, which also includes 45km in sand dunes and a return to faster tracks for the final 60km.
Silk Way Rally – 3rd Stage @13.30hrs:
1. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (BEL) BMW X3 5h 18m 33s
2. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) MINI All4 Racing 5h
3. Alexander Mironenko (RUS)/Sergey Lebedev (RUS) BMW X3 CC 5h 50m 09s
Silk Way Rally – Overall Standings after 3rd Stage @ 13.30hrs:
1. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (BEL) BMW X3 14h 29m 54s
2. Alexander Mironenko (RUS)/Sergey Lebedev (RUS) BMW X3 CC 15h 57m 36s
3. Aleksandre Zheludov (RUS)/Andrey Rudnitskiy (BLR) Nissan 16h 35m 18s
4. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) MINI All4 Racing 16h