Spanish team wins the day - Germany 1 falls behind - Team France extends lead in the overall standings
13th stage of 14
Liaison 1: 14 km
Special stage: 172 km
Liaison 2: 105 km.
The Transsyberia Rally 2008 powered by Sony Ericsson is drawing to a close. On the way to the destination Ulaanbaatar the 13th stage took place today. It led for 339 km from Bayankhongor into the sand dunes of Mongol Els in the province Middlegobi.
After lots of dust, a special stage containing water was lined up. Before the start, many drivers, who took part in the rally last year, were looking forward to today’s special stage. Others fostered unpleasant memories of 2007, when they took a bath with their car. “I have respect for the rapid waters in Mongolia. At home in Spain we don’t have those. I was happy that the water was only one meter deep today“, said Laia Paneido, navigator of Team Spain at the destination.
Last night the organizers already shortened the special stage a few kilometers because the tow and rescue vehicles wouldn’t have been able to get through the last section due to the water level. Consequently, the teams were left with 172 km. The stretch led along the Shargaljuut River and Mountain through impressive nature, into the vicinity of the former Mongolian capital Karakorum.
After 3:16:30 hours Pau Soler and Laia Paneido (Team Spain) crossed the finish-line first in their Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia and moved up in the overall standings from third to second place. Christian Lavieille and Francois Borsotto (Team France) defended their lead in the overall standings. With a lag of 5:09 minutes they landed in third place at today’s special stage. Team France appeared reluctant: “We doing well, we had no problems with the car. It would be nice, if we could bring the rally victory to Ulaanbaatar.“
Electronic problems threw the fivefold daily winner Armin Schwarz from the second to the third place in the overall standings. For to date unexplained reasons the car didn’t react the way it used to. With the help of another team, Team Germany 1 made it into 11th place in the daily standings.
Today’s stage primarily belonged to the outsider teams. With a lag of 4:31 minutes, the Austrian Christof Danner secured the second place in the daily standings. “For a while the Transsyberia seemed jinxed for us. A lot of small unforeseeable malfunctions, which all had to be repaired by us in the evening, after the stages. Now it’s working!“, explained the pilot of the Danner Racing Team and added: “I was one with the car, we really got along well.“ Diligently Danner kept pulling ahead of teams, who had started ahead of him, overtook Team France in muddy terrain and followed the towing maneuver between Team Germany 1 and Team USA, while passing by.
Suzuki pilot Andreas Kramer seemed satisfied too. “We would’ve made minimum time today“, the pilot was sure. After starting in 16th position, the Suzuki Team kept moving ahead. “In the end we had five Porsche in tow who followed our tracks.“ A few kilometers before the destination, co-pilot Ettenberger however made a navigation mistake and the crew got stuck in a swamp, from which they were able to free themselves on their own though. “ That definitely cost us seven minutes“, said Kramer. In the end it was enough for 5th place (+ 0:09:35).
Panos Meyer and Birger Veit got their best daily results to date in their Land Rover Defender 90. To be on the safe side, the JoeVito Team had mounted a floating tire to their car in the morning, but it didn’t come into operation. “We managed the water without it“, the pilots said pleased.
Today Team Germany 2 was, above all, occupied with recovering other teams. First Carles Celma and Wolf-Hendrik Unger towed Armin Schwarz’s car out of the mud, then they helped the Columbian Team Arrow change a tire and finally they towed the Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia of Ryan Millen into the next village. There, nothing worked any longer, so the car of Team USA was loaded onto a tow truck with transmission damage and brought to camp.
Yesterday’s third-placed Adel Abdulla and Norbert Lutteri from Team Qatar couldn’t start today. The damage to their car which occured during yesterday’s stage couldn’t be repaired overnight.