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Cross-country skiing – Slim lead to Serradori / Minaudier midway through Rally Kazakhstan

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Cross-country skiing – Slim lead to Serradori / Minaudier midway through Rally Kazakhstan

Rally Kazakhstan, round 2 of the FIA ​​World Championship for cross-country meetings

Mathieu Serradori and Loic Minaudier are currently leading Rally Kazakhstan after three of the five legs in the second round of the FIA ​​World Championship of Cross Country Meetings. However, the French pairing is being chased down by Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Dirk von Zitzewitz, who have closed the hole for just 22 seconds after three long selective sections. Third position is tentatively occupied by Lucio Alvarez and Armand Monleon, who drive a Toyota Hilux Overdrive.

Rally Kazakhstan started on Wednesday with the first 280 kilometer selective section east of Aktau. Serradori, competing for the first time with co-driver Minaudier, set the pace in this opening section to take an early advantage of almost two minutes. The second section, Thursday, formed the first part of the Marathon Stage, which led the crews south to the Caspian Sea resort of Kenderly, where only competitors themselves could work on their vehicles. Despite a hassle-free day, the French duo dropped time for Al-Rajhi and finished in third place in the section, opening the gap for their closest rivals. Today, the Century CR6 crew was number two in the section, cutting their advantage over Al-Rajhi.

Al-Rajhi, who won the event in 2018, had a disappointing start but has jumped back after two big days of competition. Saudi Arabia, co-driven by Germany’s Dirk von Zitzewitz, lost just over 12 minutes in the opening section with a navigation error, leaving him down in fourth overall. However, the fastest times in the SS2 and SS3 have allowed the Toyota crew to put the ranking up in second place, now only 22 seconds behind Serradori.

Lucio Alvarez and Armand Monleon were on pace from the start, the Argentine / Spanish Toyota crew second fastest through the first section despite the complicated navigation. Fifth fastest through SS2 was enough to maintain second place, but the pair lost a charging Al-Rajhi today and dropped to third, 15 minutes and 45 seconds.

Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist lead the X-Raids challenge, and the Swedes hold fourth in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy midway through Rally Kazakhstan. They were fifth in the opening section, but climbed the leaderboard to fourth after SS2, finishing just 47 seconds behind Al-Rajhi in the first part of the Marathon Stage. Today, they dropped time by seventh in the section, but maintained the position.

Fifth overall are Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov. Krotov, who also finished fifth in 2019, started steadily and fourth through the second section, moving the MINI crew from seventh to sixth overall. Today, they have again moved up the leaderboard with yet another fourth fastest time as the crews drove their way through the section 331 kilometers from Kenderly back to Aktau.

Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot are sixth ahead of Miroslav Zapletal and Marek Sykora, who were just off the podium, in fourth, last time out in Kazakhstan. Austin Jones, who currently leads the T4 standings with permission for the category victory in the opening round in Spain, has another fantastic event and is eighth in total. The American, co-driven by Gustavo Gugelmin, is once again pacesetter in his Can Am Maverick X3, and despite suffering with hanging dust in the first section, the crew claimed the T4 stage victory and a sixth place overall. They adopted a conservative approach during the first part of the Marathon Stage to avoid mechanical problems and categorically lost stage winner Amos Eugenio in SS2 by just one minute. Today they were again just behind the Italian, but had a 38 minute advantage in the category.

Cristina Gutierrez, who currently tops the T3 classification, is driving well again and the Spaniard is ninth overall and leads T3 in Kazakhstan. Second after the opening leg due to a puncture and penalty, she and co-driver François Cazalet punished Pavel Lebedev in SS2 for taking advantage of more than 19 minutes in today’s section. However, they dropped over 15 minutes today, which significantly reduced their advantage.

Vladimir Vasilyev, reigning champion of the 2020 FIA World Cup for cross-country Bajas, suffered more disappointment after retiring from the first round in Spain last month; he collected massive sanctions with turbo problems in the first paragraph.

Two more selective sections are left before the finish in Aktau on Sunday 13 June.

Partially unofficial classification after stage 3

1

Mathieu Serradori / Loic Minaudier

Century CR6

9h 24min 16 sec

2

Yazeed Al Rajhi / Dirk von Zitzewitz

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

9h 24min 38sec

3

Lucio Alvarez / Armand Monleon

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

9h 40min 23sec

4

Mattias Ekström / Emil Bergkvist

MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

9h 52min 07sec

5

Denis Krotov / Konstantin Zhiltsov

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

9 hours 57 minutes 33 sec

6

Ronan Chabot / Gilles Pillot

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

10h 25min 16 sec

7

Vs. Miroslav Zapletal / Marek Sykora

Ford F150 Evo

10h 34min 18sec

8

Austin Jones / Gustavo Gugelmin

Can Am Maverick X3 (T4)

10h 46min 05sec

9

Cristina Gutierrez / François Cazalet

OT3 OT3 (T3)

11h 02min 20sec

10

Pavel Lebedev / Kirill Shubin

Can Am Maverick (T3)

11h 05min 54sec

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