|Sealine Rally Qatar: Overdrive Toyota Team hold 1st, 3rd and 4th overall.|
The three Overdrive Racing Toyota Hiluxes completed the first true desert stage of the 2012 Sealine Cross-Country Rally in first, second and fourth positions and hold first, third and fourth in the overall standings on Wednesday afternoon.
Al-Attiyah and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz Senra trounced the opposition on the first true desert stage of the third round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. The Qatari utilised his local knowledge to the full and the exciting, new Toyota Hilux never missed a beat.
The former Dakar winner will now take a massive 11min 07sec overnight lead into the second of four long desert stages on Thursday. He passed all but one of the bike and quad field by the third passage control and overtook rider David Casteu soon afterwards to reach the stage finish before anyone else.
"It was a good start to the rally, I wanted to push to see the real pace of the Toyota. The Hilux performed perfectly on the difficult stage. There is still a long way to go in the rally and Lucas and I are looking forward to the next days," said Al-Attiyah.
The Argentinean duo of Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue finished the stage in a superb second position to hold third in the overall standings. They passed PC1 in a virtual fifth place and enjoyed a useful run from then on to hold second at PC2 and second through the third and fourth passage controls.
Qatar’s Faisal Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel started 10th, climbed to seventh at PC1 and moved up to fifth at the next control point. They climbed still further to a fine fourth position soon afterwards and held on to the finish to emphasise Toyota’s domination of the opening day.
"All the teams really did a great job today", said Overdrive team director Jean-Marc Fortin. "Nasser and Lucas showed why they are considered one of the top crews in cross-country. Lucio also showed great pace today, further proving that his recent fifth place on the Dakar was no fluke."
"For me, the big surprise of the day was Faisal and Matthieu. Their fourth place on the stage was impressive, but when you take into account the puncture they had it is even more impressive. We still have a long way to go. The mechanics will be making sure the cars are checked and in the best possible condition for tomorrow’s stage."
The three Overdrive Racing-run Toyota Hiluxes of Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, Lucio Alvarez and Faisal Al-Attiyah had completed the opening 4.2km super special stage in first, fourth and sixth positions on Tuesday afternoon, but began the first 330.51km desert stage from first, ninth and 10th in the running order, with priority given to points’ scorers in the FIA World Cup thus far.
The Overdrive Racing Toyotas were built in South Africa in conjunction with Toyota Motorsport South Africa and Hallspeed and are powered by the 4.6-litre V8 engine that conforms to the latest FIA regulations.
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)/Bernardo 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)/Konstantin Zlitstov (RUS) Schlesser I 03:24:54
06. Al-Mutaiwei (UAE)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) Mini All4 Racing I 03:26:46
07. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Vitaliy 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
2012/04/17 | 14:13 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/HS