For X-raid, the fourth day of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge proved to be another successful one. In the third leg of the event, Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei (VAE) and his German navigator Andreas Schulz set the second-fastest time behind Jean-Louis Schlesser, with their MINI ALL4 Racing, followed by the Russian pairing Ilya Kusnetsov And Roman Elagin (BMW X3CC) in third position. The fine team result was completed by the Germans Stephan Schott and Holm Schmidt in the KS Tools BMW X3CC who finished sixth.
The third special stage was dominated by the battle of Al-Mutaiwei and Schlesser for the win. The driver from Dubai held the lead for a long time but in the end, he was defeated by two minutes. In the overall standings, he now holds a 12-minute lead over Frenchman Patrick Sireyjol in third position.
Kusnetsov also succeeded in defending his position among the front runners throughout the 345-kilometre leg. Following his third position in the ‘Super Special’, this was his best result in the desert legs to date. He now holds sixth position in the overall standings. By finishing sixth, Stephan Schott also secured his best Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge result to date. With this result, the German worked his way up eighth place in the overall standings.
Tomorrow, the competitors will complete the final loop around the bivouac as the last leg on Friday will take them back to Abu Dhabi. Tomorrow’s 317-kilometre special stage will be another pure desert leg.
Result leg 3 (provisional):
1st J.-L. Schlesser (FRA)/K. Zhilstov (RUS) Schlesser Buggy – 5h 12m 19s
2nd K. Al-Mutaiwei (UAE)/A. Schulz (DEU) MINI ALL4 Racing – 5h 14m 23s
3rd I. Kusnetsov (RUS)/R. Elagin (RUS) BMW X3 CC – 5h 25m 22s
6th S. Schott (DEU)/H. Schmidt (DEU) BMW X3 CC – 6h 02m 10s