Nineteen cars and SSV were officially permitted to start the Qatar Cross-Country Rally 2018 and 14 lined up in the Qatar National Baja, in addition to the four that were eligible from the main event. The two non-starters in the QCCR were Khaled Al-Suwaidi and Ravil Maginov.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel got the better of a strong field through a varied and challenging opening 4.84km super special stage of the Manateq Qatar Cross-Country Rally at the Losail International Circuit late on Wednesday afternoon. The performance earned the defending FIA World Cup champion a slender lead of 5.76 seconds to take into the first of four demanding desert selective sections on Thursday morning. Cars tackled the stage in reverse order and Al-Attiyah saved the best until last with a time of 04:13 minutes.
South African de Villiers settled in well in the second of the Toyota Gazoo Hilux and sealed second position, while Poland’s Jakub Przygonski (X-raid Mini) rounded off the top three. Fellow countryman Aron Domzala (Toyota Hilux Overdrive) was fourth and FIA World Cup leader Martin Prokop (Ford F150 Proto) finished the stage in fifth place.
Dutchman Erik van Loon (Toyota Hilux Overdrive) took a maximum stage penalty of one hour after crashing in the stage. The Overdrive Racing mechanics will need to work to repair the Toyota before the restart on Thursday.
Qatar’s Adel Abdulla delighted his home crowds by romping into a 42-second T2 category lead over main Saudi Arabian rival Ahmed Shegawi. The QMMF and Ooredoo-backed Nissan Patrol driver posted a time of 5min 18.81sec to snatch the early advantage in the section for series production cross-country vehicles. Russia’s Yuliya Migunova-Khegay was third and Romania’s Laurentiu Claudiu Barbu finished in a distant fourth. Spaniard Fernando Alvarez survived a slight indiscretion after running wide to finish the stage in eighth overall with his South Racing Volkswagen Amarok.
Spaniard Santiago Navarro moved into an impressive 18.33-second SSV-category lead over Frenchman Claude Fournier. Series rival José Luis Pena Campo of Spain was a mere 1.43 seconds behind and Italy’s Michele Cinotto completed the stage in fourth.
Polish Orlen Team rider Maciej Giemza prepared to tackle the Qatar deserts as a lone FIM-sanctioned motorcycle entrant with an opening time of 04:36 minutes in the super special stage. Dutchman Kees Koolen pipped quad rival Russian rival Alexsandr Maxsimov by 3.46 seconds to lead the category heading into the desert.
Today (Thursday), competitors tackle the first of the desert selective sections – a menacing 358.15 km examination of navigational skills, patience and endurance. The stage starts 48.48 km south-west of Losail and winds its way through the remote western wastelands of the State of Qatar before crossing the bottom of the dountry to finish 93.75 km away from rally headquarters - close to the former bivouac at Sealine - south of the industrial and petroleum hub of Mesaieed on the south-east coast.
Qatar Cross Country Rally Results Prologue CARS Top 10
01) Al Attiyah, Nasser / Baumel, Matthieu I Toyota Hilux I 00:04:13 I 00:00:00
02) De Villiers, Giniel / Howie, Robert I Toyota Hilux I 00:04:19 I 00:00:06
03) Przygonski, Jakub / Colsoul, Tom I X-raid Mini I 00:04:19 I 00:00:06
04) Domzala, Aron / Marton, Maciej I Toyota Hilux I 00:04:23 I 00:00:10
05) Prokop, Martin / Pabiska, David I Ford F-150 Evo I 00:04:24 I 00:00:11
06) Seaidan, Yasir / Kuzmich, Alexej I Toyota Hilux I 00:04:29 I 00:00:15
07) Vasilyev, Vladimir / Zhiltsov, Konstantin I X-raid Mini I 00:04:35 I 00:00:22
08) Alvarez, Fernando / Lafuente, Sergio I Volkswagen Amarok I 00:05:13 I 00:01:00
09) Abdulla, Adel / Al-Kuwari, Nasser I Nissan Patrol Y62 I 00:05:18 I 00:01:05
10) Al-Feraihi, Khaled / Obaid, Ali Hassan I Nissan Patrol I 00:05:24 I 00:01:11
Qatar Cross Country Rally Results Prologue SSV ALL
01) Navarro, Santiago / Lopez, Pedro I Yamaha XYZ 1000R I 00:05:13 I 00:00:00
02) Fournier, Claude / Delaunay, Sebastien I Polaris RZR 1000 I 00:05:31 I 00:00:18
03) Pena Campo, Jose Luis / Tornabell, Rafael I Polaris RZR 1000 I 00:05:32 I 00:00:19
04) Cinotto, Michele / Zini, Fulvio I Polaris RZR 1000 I 00:05:37 I 00:00:24
QATAR CROSS COUNTRY RALLY QMMF
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