By Sports Reporter/Doha
Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) will host the third round of the Qatar National Baja Championship tomorrow.
The ceremonial start in scheduled for today, after the scrutineering and pre-event briefing. Tomorrow, the first leg will begin at 8:45 in the morning as the cars will run over challenging desert terrain, which will consist of a number of marked courses.
Qatar Baja has attracted 11 entries as the drivers will battle it out in the sandy countryside for off-road honours. QMMF President Abdulrahman al-Mannai was excited for the start of new season and said a number of activities have been lined up ahead. “We are looking forward to this week’s round. We are very excited at this point in time. We have planned a series of activities right throughout the season, like we always do. We shall give more details in the coming days,” al-Mannai said.
It will be busy season at the QMMF as beehive of activities has been planned. The Manateq International Rally of Qatar, the finale to the 2018 FIA Middle East Rally Championship is the marquee event to be looked forward to and it will be held from November 15-17.
“It’s going to be a busy season. Next month we will have the hugely popular Manateq Qatar International Rally. That will host the big names in motor racing. We will special activities during that week,” QMMF President said.
Formerly the opening round of the prestigious regional rallying series, this year’s revised three-day event will decide the outcome of the championship with Qatar’s Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah – a winner of the Qatar International Rally on 13 occasions – bidding for a 14th regional title in 16 years and trying to prevent Czech driver Vojtech Stajf from snatching a first ever series win. The duo are separated by 32 points before the fourth round in Kuwait at the start of November.
Al-Mannai lavished praise on al-Attiyah after Qatar’s ace driver fought back to win last week’s Rally of Morocco. It was al-Attiyah’s fifth successive victory in the gruelling Rally of Morocco.
“The best news was the way he fought hard in trying conditions,” al-Mannai said. “He’s had a tough time recently but we know he doesn’t give up. His team and car have been working really well for him. I think he is getting good preparation for the Manateq Qatar International Rally and eventually the Dakar Rally next year,” he said.
Al-Mannai said Adel Abdulla’s, Qatar’s big hope in T2 class in this year’s championship, has been a revelation this year. Abdulla driving a Nissan Patrol Y62 as part of the QX Rally Team with French navigator Jean-Michel Polato, finished the event in third place behind the Russian driver Andrey Titov.
After the tough fight in Morocco, Abdulla had the consolation of finishing as runner-up in this year’s T2 World Championship after a campaign that was marred on more than one occasion by cruel luck.
“Adel showed a great fight despite the setbacks in Morocco. He did not give up until the end. The great achievement is that he drove three different cars this season. It is just unbelievable. Hopefully he will come back strong next season,” al-Mannai said.
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