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Silk Way Rally 2017 – Leg 3: Ufa – Kostanay

• Bryce Menzies (USA) retains top-five position after 12th place finish in Leg 3.
• Yazeed Al Rajhi back on track with a show of strength to finish today’s leg with a determined fifth.

2017 Silk Way Rally - Leg 3 Ufa - Kostanay, Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA), Tom Colsoul (BEL), MINI John Cooper Works Rally #101 - X-raid Team
2017 Silk Way Rally - Leg 3 Ufa - Kostanay, Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA), Tom Colsoul (BEL), MINI John Cooper Works Rally #101 - X-raid Team

American duo Bryce Menzies and co-driver Peter Mortensen retain their top five standing on the leader board despite completing Leg 3 in 12th position. The #105 MINI John Cooper Works Rally performed perfectly over the once again troublesome tall and slippery grass surface but a puncture cost some time despite a fairly rapid wheel-change. Today’s racing still finds the Silk Way Rally first-timers in fourth place overall.

Leg 3 saw similar levels of deep holes and obscured vision from dense, tall vegetation as Leg 2 when the competitors crossed the last stages of Russian terrain en route to the Kazakhstan border and stop-over point Kostanay, where they will start tomorrow’s Leg 4.

Mortensen: “The stage started out good for the first 100km. After that the navigation was very difficult and hard to see the tracks with how high the grass was. We suffered a right rear puncture around 250km, which was quickly changed. A lot of big holes and off camber hills came our way. Overall, it was a great learning stage.”

Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) set about making up ground after yesterday’s (Leg 2) disappointing incident that incurred a five-hour-plus penalty and saw the unfortunate pairing drop from the top five leaders to 41st overall.

Race response was equally dramatic but this time in a positive direction for the crew of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally #101. The MINI Family members crossed Leg 3’s finish line in fifth position. With such a severe time difference to make up, Al Rajhi is intent on showing what a force he and the MINI John Cooper Works Rally can be by being at the thick end of the racing action.

Today’s Leg 4 starts in Kazakhstan with the competitors taking on 908.8km of new terrain, of which 373.22km are special stage kilometres en route to Astana.

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