X-raid: Highs and lows in the early stages of the Dakar Rally

On January 4, the 2015 Dakar Rally got underway. Already during its first stages, a whole range of emotions was felt by the drivers and crew of RECARO sponsored Team X-raid – including both laughs and tears. Argentine racing duo Orlando Terranova and Ronnie Graue won the opening stage, after Nasser Al-Attiyah received two penalty-minutes, pushing him back to seventh place. Meanwhile, Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc along with his French co-driver Xavier Panseri managed a very respectable fourth place. There was disappointment, however, for favorites Nani Roma and Michel Périn, the winners of last year’s Rally. The pair arrived late to the finish after battling technical problems. The subsequent two stages were also marked by joy and sadness. With temperatures rising above 40 degrees Celsius, Al-Attiyah and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel won the second stage between Villa Carlos Paz and San Juan, after Terra Nova and Graue, who had led the field for much of the day, rolled over several times in their Mini following a jump. Luckily, due to being safely secured in their RECARO racing shells, both emerged unscathed. “We rolled over four times and lost time because of repairs,” commented Terranova. “But, we still managed to reach the finish line. Now, we just have to keep fighting.” The strong will of the Argentines paid off on day three, when victory was theirs. Then bad luck again on stage four: a broken tire threw them back several places in the overall ranking. This ranking is currently led by Al-Attiyah and Baumel, after they came in fifth on the third day and won the fourth stage. Things were looking up for Roma and Périn, as well: without technical difficulties they took the places six and two on the stages three and four. Holowczyc and Panseri meanwhile remained constant, again taking fourth place on the second day. After problems during the third stage, they secured all options with a solid twelfth place on stage four and a fifth place in the overall standings. The battle for the top therefore continues to be a fascinating one. Our fingers remain crossed for the X-raid drivers.

Good performance despite crashes: Terranova and Graue On the way to the top: Roma and Périn Preparations: Nasser Al-Attiyah Constant performance: Holowczyc and Panseri

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