|Hail Saudi Rally: Saudi´s Owaid Mansi and Hamad Nasser claim Ha´il victory.|
The Saudi Arabian duo of Owaid Mansi and Hamad Nasser snatched victory from Khalaf Joan Al-Shammeri and Joan Al-Shammeri on the final selective section of the FIA-sanctioned Ha’il International Rally, Saudi Arabia’s premier off-road motor sport event, across the An Nafud desert on Thursday.
They reached the finish of the 146.02 km section at Kna’ in a time of 02:19:07 and that was sufficient to overhaul their fellow Toyota Land Cruiser rivals to take the biggest win of their careers. Ahmed Al-Shuhail set the quickest time on the final section to confirm third overall in his Nissan.
"The rally was very strong this year and the organisation was far better than in previous years," said Khalaf Joan, who stopped on Wednesday’s stage to check that Khalid Al-Jafla was okay when he ground to a halt with mechanical issues and that sporting gesture may well have cost him the title.
"There has been a very strict compliance with the FIA regulations, which is a good step for this event and for the sport in the region. There were lots of changes on the leader board and that made it very interesting. I’m delighted to finish in this position, but one place higher would have been even better."
Once all the time penalties and route vagaries had been assessed, Khaled Joan Al-Shammeri began the final 146.02 km with a slender lead of just 01:13 minutes over Owaid Mansi after nearly 13 hours of racing. Ahmed Al-Suhail was promoted to third when Mutair Al-Shammeri was handed a hefty time penalty and Salman Al-Shammeri was fourth. Ahmed Al-Sabban had made steady progress as the event progressed and started the last stage in eighth overall with his Ford Raptor.
Ibrahim Al-Muhanna made the early running from the start at Dlehan and was the quickest driver at the second passage control, the Nissan man running a mere one-second quicker than Al-Shuhail. Overnight leaders Khaled Joan and Owaid Mansi were down in 13th and 11th positions and Mansi had earned the unofficial overall lead.
Al-Shuhail claimed the virtual stage lead at PC3 from Muhanna and Ahmed Al-Sabban, but the two leaders were struggling as the pressure intensified at the top of the leader board over the closing kilometers. Al-Shuhail held on to claim the stage win by 03:10 from Al-Muhanna and guaranteed himself at least third overall. But Mansi stayed far enough ahead of Khalaf Joan to claim the win.
Meshal Al-Khaledi headed into the final selective section with a lead of 18:46 mins over Abdul Majeed Khulaifi in the motorcycle and quad category. The Saudi Yamaha rider just needed to stay out of trouble over the closing kilometres to record the biggest win of his career. Hamid Al-Hedyyan started the last stage in third overall.
But Al-Khaledi failed to reach the first passage control and this handed the virtual overall lead to Khulaifi who held third on the special at PC2 behind Ahmed Al-Nasser and Al-Hedyyan. Al-Nasser held on to comfortably win the final stage and Al-Khaledi confirmed the overall win.
This year’s event was organised by the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) and was staged under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Saud Bin Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of Ha’il, President of the Supreme Commission for Ha’il Development and the Head of the Supreme Commission of the Ha’il Rally. Cars tackled a total of 856.70 km of competition in a route of 1,685.83 km. Bikes raced across 455.14 km in a shorter route of 1,523.94 km
Ha´il Saudi Rally final positions after final leg Thursday
01) Owaid Mansi (SAU)/Hamad Nasser (SAU) I Toyota I 15:18:34
02) Khalaf Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Al-Shammeri (SAU) I Toyota I 15:25:00
03) Ahmed Al-Shuhail (SAU)/Abdulaziz Ashfour (SAU) I Nissan I 15:28:51
04) Ibrahim Muhanna (SAU)/Ali Obaid (ARE) I Nissan I 15:50:54
05) Salman Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Al-Tiwyawi (SAU) I Toyota I 16:23:06
06) Ali Al-Kitbi (ARE)/Al-Shamsi (ARE) I Nissan Patrol I 16:41:51
07) Ahmed Al-Sabban (SAU)/Adel Hussein (QAT) I Ford Raptor I 16:49:43
08) Niaf Al-Otaibi (SAU)/Fahad Al-Sfiani (SAU) I Nissan I 16:49:48
09) Motab Saud (SAU)/Issa Masoud (SAU) I Toyota I 17:00:37
10) Rajih Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Al-Shammeri (SAU) I Nissan I 17:31:52
2014/03/28 | 02:39 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/PERKINS