By Sports Reporter/Losail, Qatar
Qatar’s Adel Abdulla finished 10th overall to lead the T2 category.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel romped to an emphatic victory on the opening 358.15km desert stage of the Manateq Qatar Cross-Country Rally yesterday.
The day’s stage started south-west of Losail and wound its way through the remote western wastelands before crossing the bottom of the country to finish near Sealine in the south. The Toyota Hilux driver began the day positioned eighth on the road, but he delivered another polished performance to extend his overall advantage in the fourth round of the FIA World Cup to 16min 07sec.
Al-Attiyah said: “It was a good job today, but it was a very difficult stage and not easy for navigation. We lost a little bit of time searching for the road and we had one flat tyre, but I am quite happy to be here. Many people made mistakes today. Tomorrow is another day and we will try to do our best.”
Poland’s Jakub Przygonski lost some time in the middle of the stage with his own navigational issues, but the X–Raid MINI driver hit back over the closing kilometres to pull clear of fellow countryman Aron Domzala to snatch the second quickest time and move up to a similar position in the standings.
“We are happy for second position but we are not so happy with the rhythm today,” said Przygonski. “The speed was okay but we had a lot of navigation mistakes and we lost a lot of time on this, maybe 12 or 14 minutes. This is when Aron (Domzala) caught us. But we are still in the game and the car is perfect. We need to focus on the next few days and not make any mistakes.”
Dutchman Erik van Loon put Wednesday evening’s Losail mishap to the back of his mind and clocked the fourth quickest time to move up the field to seventh. Saudi Arabia’s Yasir Seaidan and Russian Vladimir Vasilyev finished the stage in fourth and fifth overall and held fifth and fourth in the overall classification, respectively.
FIA World Cup leader Martin Prokop slipped to sixth in the rankings after losing his way in the desert.
Qatar’s Adel Abdulla increased his lead in the T2 category for series production cross-country vehicles after Saudi Arabian championship rival Ahmed Shegawi suffered technical problems before PC2. The QMMF and Ooredoo-backed Nissan Patrol driver also held an impressive 10th overall and a T2 lead of 47min 15sec at the end of the day.
Frenchman Claude Fournier romped to the T3 stage win in his Polaris RZR 1000 and moved up to an impressive eighth in the overall rankings, after series rival José Luis Pena Campo of Spain lost time early on and both Italy’s Michele Cinotto and Spaniard Santiago Navarro were delayed.
The Qatar debut of Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers came to a premature and painful halt when co-driver Robert Howie complained of back pain shortly after a heavy landing in a deep hole shortly before the first passage control. De Villiers took the sensible decision to retire the Toyota.
The difficulty of the stage decimated the field running in the Manateq Qatar National Baja and T2 leader Abdulla – who is eligible for both rallies – stormed to the top of the leader board in his TOK Sport Nissan Patrol Y62.
Today’s 340.54km selective section begins to the north of Losail and passes around the northern extremities of the country before cutting across the uppermost deserts to run down the western coast to finish off the Al-Kharsaah Road, west of Doha.
SS2 RESULTS (top 5)
1. Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 3hrs 34min 28sec
2. Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) MINI John Cooper Works Rally 3hrs 50min 29sec
3. Aron Domzala (POL)/Maciej Marton (POL) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 3hrs 59min 29sec
4. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 4hrs 07min 10sec
5. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI One 4hrs 07min 25sec
CARS (top 10)
1. Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 3hrs 38min 41sec
2. Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) MINI John Cooper Works Rally 3hrs 54min 48sec
3. Aron Domzala (POL)/Maciej Marton (POL) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 4hrs 03min 52sec
4. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI One 4hrs 12min 00sec
5. Yasir Seaidan (SAU)/Alexei Kuzmich (RUS) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 4hrs 34min 40sec
6. Martin Prokop (CZE)/David Pabiška (CZE) Ford F-150 Evo 4hrs 50min 58sec
7. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 5hrs 07min 10sec
8. Claude Fournier (FRA)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Polaris RZR 1000 (T3) 5hrs 10min 09sec
9. Jose Luis Pena Campo (ESP)/Rafael Tornabell (ESP) Polaris RZR 1000 (T3) 5hrs 51min 52sec
10. Adel Abdulla (QAT)/Nasser al-Kuwari (QAT) Nissan Patrol Y62 (T2) 5hrs 57min 33sec
1. Maciej Giemza (POL) KTM 450 Rally Replica 5hrs 52min 32sec
2. Aleksandr Maksimov (RUS) Yamaha YFM 700R 6hrs 57min 39sec
Manateq Qatar National Baja standings
1. Adel Abdulla (QAT)/Nasser al-Kuwari (QAT) Nissan Patrol Y62 (T2) 2hrs 15min 13sec
2. Thuwaini al-Nahel (KWT)/Mohamed al-Tahnoun (KWT) Polaris RZR 1000 2hrs 57min 47sec
3. Mohamed al-Meer (QAT)/Jaber Abu Jabri (QAT) Nissan Patrol 2hrs 58min 12sec
4. Hamed bin Eid al-Thani (QAT)/Feres Allouh (QAT) Nissan Patrol 2hrs 58min 54sec
5. Ahmed Shegawi (SAU)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Nissan Patrol Y61 (T2) 3hrs 21min 52sec
6. Nayef al-Nasr (QAT)/Jassim Mohamed Falahi (QAT) Can-Am Maverick T3 3hrs 59min 35sec
7. Abdulaziz al-Bshayer (KWT)/Faisal Zeidan (KWT) Can-Am Maverick X3 4hrs 17min 22sec
8. Nasser al-Ajmi (KWT)/Mohamed al-Awadi (KWT) Nissan Patrol 4hrs 26min 44sec
9. Rashid al-Mohannadi (QAT)/Ahmed al-Fares (KWT) Nissan Patrol 4hrs 47min 43sec
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