By Sports Reporter/Doha
The Manateq Qatar Cross-Country Rally (MQCCR) got underway in front of the television cameras and hundreds of onlookers at Souq Waqif in downtown Doha yesterday evening.
The opening round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies has attracted competitors from an impressive 22 countries and as far afield as the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Equador, Western and Eastern Europe, Jordan and the GCC. Several of the front-running drivers attended the official pre-event press conference on the start podium before cars were flagged away from the ceremonial start in the heart of Qatar’s historic capital.
Competitors spent yesterday morning finalising their technical checks and any outstanding paperwork, before attending a mandatory briefing hosted by officials at the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF).
There were a couple of late additions to the entry list for the Manateq Qatar National Baja, with Peruvian co-driver Hector Garcia Chavez teaming up with Ahmed Allouh in a Can-Am Maverick X3 and Maria Angeles Hernandez flying in from Alicante in Spain for the first time to sit alongside German female driver Edith Weiss in a Nissan Patrol.
Tomorrow (Sunday) the first car will leave Lusail Sports Arena at 09.30hrs and a liaison of 74.07km takes competitors to the start of a short opening 171.25km Al Khararra selective section, starting at 10.55hrs.
Al Khararra is a desert village in the municipality of Al Wakra, situated to the west of Mesaieed, in south-central Qatar. Its name derives from the Arabic word ‘khar’, which translates as ‘the sound of running water’ - the area features several hills and surface rain run-off is noticeable in the winter.
The day’s stage features two passage controls on the Umm Bab Highway and on the Al Khararra road after 54.07km and 93.61km, respectively, before finishing on the Sealine road to the south of Doha. A road section of 83.80km brings teams back to the bivouac in Lusail.
List of starters
Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive
Yazeed al-Rajhi (SAU)/Michael Orr (GBR) Toyota Hilux Overdrive
Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive
Mohamed al-Meer (QAT)/Alexey Kuzmich (RUS) Chevrolet Buggy*
Balazs Szalay (HUN)/Laszlo Bunnozci (HUN) Opel Grandland X
Abdullah al-Rabban (QAT)/Igor Chudaykin (RUS) Jeep*
Fedor Vorobyev (RUS)/Kirill Shubin (RUS) OT3 by Overdrive (T3)
Adel Abdulla (QAT)/Jean-Michel Polato (FRA) G-Force T3 GF (T3)*
Aleksey Shmotov (RUS)/Andrey Rudnitski (RUS) Can-Am Maverick (T3)
Khalid al-Mohannadi (QAT)/Sebastien Delaunay (FRA) Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo (T3)*
Ahmed al-Kuwari (QAT)/Manuel Lucchese (ITA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)*
Rashed al-Mohannadi (QAT)/Pedro Santos (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)*
Kees Koolen (NLD)/Serge Bruynkens (BEL) OT3 by Overdrive (T3)
Gonzalo Guayasamin (ECU)/Ricardo Torlaschi (ARG) Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo (T3)
Mubarak al-Hajri (QAT)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)*
Mohammed al-Harqan (QAT)/Vili Oslaj (SLO) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)*
Saleh al-Saif (SAU)/Ali Hassan Obaid (ARE) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
Austin Jones (USA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
*denotes also eligible for Manateq Qatar National Baja. T1 unless stated
Manateq Qatar National Baja
– additional starters:
Mohamed al-Attiyah (QAT)/Tameer Huazeen (JOR) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
Jarman Jaralla (QAT)/Feras Allouh (QAT) Nissan Patrol (T1)
Hamed bin Eid al-Thani (QAT)/Stéphane Duplé (FRA) Sierra GMC (T2)
Ahmed Allouh (QAT)/Hector Garcia Chavez (PER) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
Abdulaziz al-Basheer (KWT)/Abdulaziz al-Mahrouz (KWT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
Ahmed al-Muhannadi (QAT)/Igor Okhotnikov
(RUS) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
Jamal Fakhroo (QAT)/Saeed Shwareb (QAT) Nissan Patrol (T2)
Mohammed al-Mutairi (KWT)/Talal al-Ali (KWT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
Mohamed Amir (KWT)/Yousef al-Refaei (KWT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
Ali Saeed al-Kuwari (QAT)/Ghaith al-Kuwari (QAT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
Camelia Liparoti (ITA)/Angelo Montico (ESP) Yamaha YZX 1000 R (T4)
Abdulrahman Ali (KWT)/Abdulaziz Bouabbas (KWT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
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