posted on 09/09/2012: 537 views
Dubai Fazza Rally Team driver Khalifa Al Mutaiwei recovered from a disappointing run in the morning to stay ahead of main rival Jean-Louis Schlesser in the Baja Poland.
Al Mutaiwei had set the fifth fastest time in Friday's Prologue stage and moved up to third overall going into the first service break on day two yesterday.
However, the former FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies champion committed errors on the following stage which cost the Mini All4 Racing driver around eight minutes.
Al Mutaiwei headed into the second of Saturday's stages in 10th overall, two places and 51 seconds behind challenger Schlesser. The Fazza driver had no choice but to step on the gas and take his chances in order to first try and overtake and then stay ahead of Schlesser in an attempt to keep his hold at the top of the standings.
And Al Mutaiwei did just that, unmindful of the slippery nature of the final section, the Dubai driver finished the stage over two minutes ahead of Schlesser in seventh overall. The Fazza driver went into the overnight halt with a healthy 1m 27.5sec lead over Schlesser.
"There was a rain shower before the start of the stage, which made it quite tricky,” said Al Mutaiwei. "The stage was very twisty, narrow and bumpy and it was too easy to make a mistake.
"I was quite happy not to be starting from the front of the field and, therefore, clearing and cleaning the stages for the others,” Al Mutaiwei added.
The Fazza driver says his main priority is to finish the event in front of main challenger Schlesser, a multiple Dakar winner.
To achieve this end, Al Mutaiwei will have to mix caution with aggression on the final two stages today.
Local driver Krzysztof Holowczyc will open the stage today with Russian Vladimir Vasilyev and Czech Miroslav Zapletal following him in second and third respectively. – Sport 360°
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