|Sealine Rally Qatar: Al Attiyah, Coma and Al-Zarouni claim stage victories.|
Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah from Qatar, Spain’s Marc Coma and the UAE’s Atif Al-Zarouni set the fastest times in their respective car, bike and quad sections on the first 330.51km special stage of the Sealine Cross-Country Rally through the southern Qatar desert on Wednesday.
Al-Attiyah extended his 8.7-second overnight lead to a staggering 11m 07s after heading off into the distance at the wheel of his Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux.
The Qatari used his extensive knowledge of the local terrain to perfection to trounce the opposition. He even managed to overtake all the motorcycles and was the first competitor to reach the finish of the stage.
Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez set the second fastest time in another Toyota and Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi was third in a Mini All4 Racing, but a one-minute time penalty for Alvarez means that the Saudi holds a provisional second in the overall rankings. Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser, Qatar’s Faisal Al-Attiyah and Dubai’s Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei rounded off the top six.
"Today was a very long stage and the first time that much of this terrain has been used," said Al-Attiyah. "I had no problems at all. But it was difficult to open the road. I am so impressed with the performance of the Toyota. It is an excellent car and this is a great shakedown for me in advance of the next Dakar."
Joan Barreda Bort carved his way through the motorcycle field, passing numerous slower bikes and held the lead over Coma until the later part of the special. The championship leader seized his opportunity to snatch the stage win late on, however, and moved into a slender six-second lead over his Spanish rival at the overnight halt.
Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues finished third. Fellow countryman Paolo Goncalves damaged the mousse in his front tyre and was forced to try and reach the stage finish on a wheel rim. He eventually recorded the unofficial 24th fastest time, 78 minutes behind the stage winner.
The faster sections of the stage were not ideally suited to the quads, but Poland’s Lukasz Laskawiec led the category on his Yamaha until mechanical problems cost him dearly. The UAE’s Atif Al-Zarouni duly reached the finish as the first classified quad rider on his Honda 450, with Poland’s Rafal Sonik in second place.
After the top 10 riders had chosen their starting positions for the day’s stage it was left to Australia’s Matthew Fish (KTM) to lead the 29 bikes, 11 quads and 24 cars into the special in ideal weather conditions - minimal wind and clear visibility. Stage winner Barreda Bort opted to start at the rear of the bike and quad field in 40th position, with Rodrigues and Coma slotting into 39th and 38th.
‘Chaleco’ Lopez began the stage from second on the road and passed Fish after 25 minutes to take the virtual stage lead. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Mansoori suffered technical problems and was unable to take the start on time and began at the rear of the field.
Lopez was the first to reach PC1, but Barreda Bort recorded the quickest time to increase his virtual lead. Al-Attiyah cruised into a comfortable lead in the car category and passed the first control point in 41m 56s, 2m 32s ahead of Russia’s Vladimir Vasilyev. Emirati Nooh Buhumaid stopped shortly after the start with mechanical problems and Saudi’s Yasir Saeidan and Saleh Abdul Ali were also in trouble.
Barreda Bort passed Coma and maintained a 1m 14s lead to the refuelling point, as Al-Attiyah reached the same point nearly nine minutes faster than the leading bike and 8m 42s clear of rival Schlesser. The Qatari began to reel in many of the front-running bikes as well and reached PC3 behind bike front-runner David Casteu, having overtaken everyone else on the stage. Barreda Bort maintained a virtual 55-second lead over Coma in the motorcycles.
The flying Qatari overtook Casteu soon afterwards and opened the road for the first time heading towards PC4 – a control that he passed in under 2h 40m. Weather conditions began to deteriorate in the camp as the leaders closed in on the stage end.
Barreda Bort maintained a 57-second advantage over Coma heading towards the sand dunes near the finish, but Coma sneaked through in the sand, as he and Al-Attiyah confirmed their respective stage wins in very different circumstances.
Tomorrow (Thursday), competitors tackle a repeat of the 330.51km loop stage through the southern extremities of Qatar, with the first bike beginning the test at the same time - 06.00hrs. The stage features four passage controls and a refuelling point for the motorcycles at PC2.
Sealine Cross-Country Rally - Cars results after SS1
01. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Lucas Cruz Senra (ESP) Toyota Hilux I 03:06:19
02. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini All4 Racing I 03:17:26
03. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Graue (ARG) Toyota Hilux I 03:18:19
04. Faisal Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota HiLux I 03:23:11
05. Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA)/ Zhiltsov (RUS) Schlesser I 03:24:54
06. Al-Mutaiwei (UAE)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) Mini All4 Racing I 03:26:46
07. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Yevtyekhov (RUS) G-Force Proto I 03:36:30
08. Boris Gadasin (RUS)/Dan Shchemel (RUS) G-Force Proto I 03:41:52
09. Ilya Kusnetsov (RUS)/Roman Elagin (RUS) BMW X3 CC I 03:46:57
10. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Miloslav Janacek (CZE) BMW X3 CC I 03:50:40
Sealine Cross-Country Rally - Bikes results after SS1
01. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica I 03:50:41
02. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP) Husqvarna TE 449 RR I 03:50:47
03. Helder Rodrigues (PRT) Yamaha YZ 450 I 03:53:51
04. Ruben Faria (PRT) KTM Rally Replica I 03:56:33
05. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica I 03:57:04
06. Jakub Przygonski (POL) KTM 450 Rally I 03:58:35
07. Alessandro Botturi (ITA) TM Rally 450 I 04:00:17
08. Sean Gaugain (ZAF) Honda CRF 450 X I 04:02:04
09. David Casteu (FRA) Yamaha 450 YZ I 04:03:55
10. Paolo Ceci (ITA) KTM 450 Rally Replica I 04:04:48
Sealine Cross-Country Rally - Quads results after SS1
01) Atif Al-Zarouni (UAE) Honda 450 I 04:51:43
02) Rafal Sonik (POL) Honda TRX 700 I 05:03:37
03) Luis Henderson (URY) Yamaha Raptor 700 I 05:10:06
04) Obaid Al-Mitbe (UAE) Honda TRX 700 XX I 05:21:09
05) Dennis Nikitopoulos (QAT) Yamaha Raptor 700 I 05:24:11
06) Todor Hristov (BGR) Yamaha Raptor 700 I 05:29:41
2012/04/17 | 14:13 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/HS