Abu Issa delivers an outstanding finish at Dakar Rally 2017
January 16 2017 12:00 AM
Qatar’s Mohamed Abu Issa and his co-driver Xavier Panseri celebrate with Qatar flag during their Dakar Rally 2017 campaign.

By Sports Reporter Doha

‘The support given to us by the entire X-Raid team was incredible’

Qatari rally driver Mohamed Abu Issa surpassed expectations and finished his debut in the car category of the Dakar Rally 2017, delivering an impressive 10th place finish.
As a cross discipline off-road racer who moved from quad bikes to cars as recently as September 2016, Abu Issa’s ranking is particularly impressive, given that this year’s edition took place on one of the harshest courses in the history of the race.
Having tackled the massive challenge from behind the wheel of an X-Raid Mini All4, Abu Issa and his co-driver Xavier Panseri overcame a flood of challenges ranging from unforgiving weather to a punishing circuit that pushed the limits of sheer skill and extreme endurance.
Racing on a course with 7 selective sections over 400 kilometres and one of more than 500 kilometres the X-Raid duo also spent 6 days at more than 3,000m racing above sea level. Such conditions proved beyond doubt that in addition to their racing prowess, Abu Issa and his teammate also survived some of the most physically exacting conditions in their quest to finish the race while delivering a significant result.
Expressing his joy at his achievement Abu Issa said, “We set out with a goal of finishing within the top 15. To have crossed the finish line in 10th place was an absolute delight.
“I was keenly aware that this was my first outing as a driver at Dakar and the learning curve for me was steep. But as always, the hunger to not just finish the race but to finish it well was raging within me.
“I wanted to do well for Mini, for Red Bull and particularly for my country Qatar! So through all the bumps and the curves, the weather and terrain challenges we had to keep our cool and drive a relentless race.
“There was no chance for error. We had to evolve our game plan to accommodate all the uncertainties. And here we are bringing home an amazing Top 10 finish for Qatar and for my team. I am absolutely thrilled.”
Abu Issa appreciatively acknowledged the support he has received from many as he made this crucial transition from being a Quad bike rider to an off-road racer’s ultimate goal, which is to compete in the much coveted car division.
He praised the efforts of the X-Raid Team saying, “The support given to us by the entire X-Raid team was incredible. They poured in their experience, expertise and a lot of heart into this and I am happy that we have been able to bring back a strong race result for them.”  
He thanked his sponsors Mini X Raid, Red Bull, OX Fitness Lab, making special mention of the State of Qatar and the Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation who unreservedly backed his bid to secure a top spot at Dakar as a first time car category contender.
Adding a touch of national pride and saluting local talent Abu Issa opted to have his car design and kit designed by The Creative Union and Qatari artist Noor Abu Issa.

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