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|Sealine Rally Qatar: Holowczyc, Coma and Adel Hussein record SS3 wins.|
Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyc, Spaniard Marc Coma and Qatar’s Adel Hussein Abdullah recorded the fastest selective section times in the car, motorcycle and quad categories on the third and penultimate day of the 2013 Sealine Cross-Country Rally in southern Qatar on Thursday.
Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser, Coma and Poland’s Rafal Sonik retained the overall category leads. Schlesser, who lies second in the FIA World Cup standings after two rounds, will start the final leg with a comfortable unofficial lead of 25min 46sec over Mini driver Holowczyc, who lost vital time changing two flat tyres near the end of the stage.
Kazakh Aidyn Rakhimbayev recorded the second quickest time in his Overdrive Toyota Hilux and Qatar’s Faisal Al-Attiya (Hummer) was third, despite losing a lot of time stuck on the ridge of a sand dune near the finish. Venezuelan driver Nunzio Coffaro holds third overall in the second Belgian-built Toyota.
“We lost our chance to gain the time back today,” said Holowczyc’s disgruntled co-driver Andreas Schulz. “Schlesser was waiting for us not far from the end on a dune. He did not want to open the road tomorrow. That is the game. But we also had two punctures and that cost us a lot of time.”
Coma will start the final leg with a 2min 04sec lead over Portugal’s Paulo Gonçalves in the motorcycle class and the pair could be set for a thrilling ‘motocross-style’ showdown over the closing kilometres to determine the winner on Friday.
“For three days now we have been finishing the stages together,” said the Portuguese. “I will try hard tomorrow, but even if I catch the two minutes, it will be difficult to finish four seconds in front of him to take the win. I must also make sure I finish to get the points for the Speedbrain team.”
Coma was upbeat about his chances on the factory KTM: “You know motocross at the end perhaps, maybe even a sprint finish like a cycling race. We will see!” Poland’s Jakub Przygonski holds third position and Chile’s Francisco Lopez is fourth.
Norwegian rider Pal-Anders Ullevalseter started the day in fourth overall, a mere 14 seconds behind Coma, but he fell and broke his femur shortly after the second passage control and was airlifted to hospital for medical attention. He had fallen back with gearbox problems before the crash.
Sonik maintained his quad category lead heading into the final day. The Pole, winner in 2012, has a massive advantage over the UAE’s Obaid Al-Kitbe, although he was pushed hard for the day’s stage win by the resurgent Adel Hussein Abdullah and the Qatari claimed the stage win when Sonik incurred a 20-minute time penalty.
A mere 14 seconds separated the top four riders at the start of the third stage, although leader Coma had the slight benefit of following his main rivals into the desert and the onus was on Lopez to perform accurate navigation from the outset.
By the first passage control, at 109.56km, the leading quintet had been locked in a fascinating tussle for supremacy and Coma had the slight edge. He was running just seven seconds quicker than Gonçalves, but the pair had begun to catch Lopez, Przygonski and Ullevalseter. The Norwegian was caught and overtaken by the Portuguese and he lost over two minutes to his rival.
At refuelling, after 193.33km, Coma had begun to press home his advantage and the Spaniard was running just behind Gonçalves. His virtual stage lead was 2min 15sec. Przygonski and Lopez were riding close together in third and fourth, but Ullevalseter had dropped behind after losing three gears. He dropped seven minutes to Coma and any chance of winning the Sealine event had gone.
Al-Kitbe continued his excellent run of form after his day one set back to take the early lead in the quad category from Mohammed Al-Shamsi and Sonik. But the Emirati and the Pole regained the upper hand by PC2 and Al-Shamsi was the virtual stage leader heading to the third checkpoint.
Coma’s plan of attack was on full song through the third PC after 286.72km and the Spaniard manage to pass his four rivals and edged into a 2min 31sec virtual stage lead over Gonçalves, as the leading duo and Przygonski and Lopez arrived together at the control. Ullevalseter had been running with crippling gearbox issues but he fell after the refuelling point, broke a leg and personally summoned immediate medical assistance by telephone.
Coma held on to his lead to seal the stage win by 2min 01sec to ensure that he took an overall advantage of 64 seconds into the final leg on Friday. Gonçalves was second and Sonik maintained the overall lead in the quad section, despite a useful ride by Adel Hussein Abdullah to claim the stage win.
Car driver Schlesser began day three with a comfortable 35min 34sec advantage over Holowczyc and headed off into distance once again. Coffaro and Rakhimbayev took up the pursuit once Toyota team-mate Martin Kaczmarski stopped near the stage start. The rookie had been feeling ill overnight and was given medical permission to restart after an examination.
Schlesser was 15 seconds in front of Rakhimbayev at PC1, but the revelation of the morning had been Qatar’s Faisal Al-Attiya in his Hummer. After feeling unwell on Wednesday, the local driver restarted in eighth position on the road and he was well ahead of Schlesser at the first checkpoint. Holowczyc reached the PC 46 seconds in front of the Frenchman in second position.
Al-Attiya continued his charge through the middle part of the stage and had overtaken everyone except for Schlesser by PC2. He was 12min 33sec in front of the Frenchman as the route meandered north through the southern Qatar wilderness. He soon passed Schlesser as well and reached PC3 with a lead of 23min 10sec over Schlesser.
Al-Attiya stopped after the third passage control and the chasing pack moved in front once more, but Holowczyc also ground to a halt on the run north with two flat tyres and still finished the special in first position after Schlesser and Coffaro lost time trying to find the correct track and Al-Attiya got stuck on the crest of a sand dune.
On Friday competitive action draws to a close on Friday with the fourth selective section in the southern Qatar desert. The stage begins 1.04km from the Sealine bivouac and runs for 275.50km to a finish 6.19km from the service area and podium, where the finishing celebrations will take place at 16.00hrs.
Daily positions on SS3 – 407.10km Sealine Rally CARS
01) Holowczyc (POL)/ Schulz (DEU) | Mini All4 Racing | 04:23:55
02) Rakhimbayev (KAZ)/ Demiyaneko (RUS) | Toyota Hilux | 04:26:37
03) Al-Attiya (QAT)/ Baumel (FRA) | Hummer | 04:29:25
04) Coffaro (VEN)/ Meneses (VEN) | Toyota Hilux | 04:33:34
05) Schlesser (FRA)/ Zhiltstov (RUS) | Schlesser | 04:33:43
Daily positions on SS3 – 407.10km Sealine Rally BIKES
01) Marc Coma (ESP) | KTM 450 Rally | 04:40:35
02) Paulo Gonçalves (PRT) | Speedbrain 450 | 04:42:36
03) Jakub Przygonski (POL) | KTM 450 Rally | 04:46:37
04) Francesco Lopez (CHL) | KTM 450 Rally | 04:48:36
05) Quinn Cody (USA) | Speedbrain 450 | 05:14:59
Daily positions on SS3 – 407.10km Sealine Rally QUADS
01) Adel-Hussain Abdullah (QAT) | Suzuki ATV | 06:08:59
02) Rafal Sonik (POL) | Honda TRX 700 | 06:23:40
03) Obaid Al-Kitbe (ARE) | Honda TRX 700 | 06:34:48
04) Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT) | Yamaha Raptor 700 | 06:43:57
Overall positions after SS3 – 407.10km Sealine Rally CARS
01) Schlesser (FRA)/ Zhiltstov (RUS) | Schlesser | 13:22:18
02) Holowczyc (POL)/ Schulz (DEU) | Mini All4 | 13:48:04
03) Coffaro (VEN)/ Meneses (VEN) | Toyota Hilux | 104:31:50
04) Rakhimbayev (KAZ)/ Demiyanenko (RUS) | Toyota Hilux | 104:45:38
05) Zapletal (CZE)/ Marton (POL) | Hummer H3 Evo | 104:55:09
Overall positions after SS3 – 407.10km Sealine Rally BIKES
01) Marc Coma (ESP) | KTM 450 Rally | 104:33:19
02) Paulo Gonçalves (PRT) | Speedbrain 450 | 104:35:23
03) Jakub Przygonski (POL) | KTM 450 Rally | 104:39:27
04) Francesco Lopez (CHL) | KTM 450 Rally | 104:45:46
05) Juan Carlos Salvatierra (BOL) | Honda CRE F 500 | 106:06:03
Overall positions after SS3 – 407.10km Sealine Rally QUADS
01) Rafal Sonik (POL) | Honda TRX 700 | 18:14:02
02) Obaid Al-Kitbe (ARE) | Honda TRX 700 | 19:47:51
03) Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT) | Yamaha Raptor 700 | 21:05:26
2013/04/26 | 10:11 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/PERKINS