|Sealine Rally Qatar: Overdrive Toyotas confirm first, second and fifth place.|
Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz Senra confirmed a crushing victory for the Belgian Overdrive Racing Team in the 2012 Sealine Cross-Country Rally, round three of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, on Saturday.
Defending a massive lead of 46min 09sec heading into the final 208km special stage, the Toyota Hilux duo didn’t need to take any risks and still recorded the fastest time to confirm outright victory by the margin of 49min 23sec.
The triumph marked Al-Attiyah’s fourth successive victory in the Qatar event (2004, 2005, 2011 and 2012) and the first for the Toyota brand on a long-distance round of the championship anywhere in the world. It was also the best result in the history of Overdrive Racing.
"This is a fantastic win for me and a chance to win another event in another car," said Al-Attiyah. "The Toyota was impressive, so much so that I would like to continue in the championship in places where there are no clashes with the MERC and WRC.
"After winning the Bajas here, the Sealine event was totally different. It was a proper cross-country event. The stages were rough, challenging and never easy. It was a superb effort by the team at the QMMF to make such a good rally so soon after entering the championship."
The Argentinean duo of Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue began the final day in second position in their Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux and needed to defend a slender 48-second lead over the title-chasing Emirati Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei.
When the Mini driver was delayed shortly after the start with navigational problems, Alvarez was able to drive in a measured pace to conserve a superb runner-up spot – his best career result to date.
"It was a great race, for us coming from Argentina and, only having raced in South America, it was a big challenge for me and Ronnie. Ronnie did a great job and the car ran perfectly during. My mechanics, Pedro and Francisco, have been with me since the Dakar and they keep ‘Duma’ - as my car is called - in top shape. A big thanks goes out to the complete Overdrive team for this great result," said Alvarez.
Qatar’s Faisal Al-Attiya and French navigator Matthieu Baumel began the final stage in a solid fifth position in the overall rankings and reached the finish line in a similar position after posting the eighth quickest stage time. It was a superb performance by the inexperienced Al-Attiya, who was making his first appearance in an FIA World Cup event of this stature.
‘We could not have asked for a better result, Toyota’s first FIA T1 win with the Hilux in its first long distance FIA race," said Overdrive team director Jean-Marc Fortin. "Nasser and Lucas were superb and they drove the Toyota to the maximum. Lucio again proved that he is a talent for the future with his second place and Faisal did a great job on his first event.
"My team have been working flat out since we started the Toyota project and this result proves the great job that they do. We still have some development to do with our indispensible partners, Toyota Motorsport South Africa and Hallspeed, but we will leave that for another day.
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.
Overdrive is based at Villers-le-Bouillet, near Huy in Belgium, and received support for the Sealine Cross-Country Rally programme from Qatar’s local Toyota importer Abdullah Abdulghani & Bros. Co. (AAB).
Sealine Cross-Country Rally - Cars results SS4
01) Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Lucas Cruz Senra (ESP) I Toyota Hilux I 01:53:21
02) Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Vitaliy Yevtyekhov (RUS) I G-Force Proto I 01:53:38
03) Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) I Schlesser I 01:56:32
04) Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) I Toyota Hilux I 01:56:35
05) Boris Gadasin (RUS)/Dan Shchemel (RUS) I G-Force Proto I 01:57:05
06) Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei (UAE)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) I Mini All4 Racing I 02:03:32
07) Ilya Kusnetsov (RUS)/Roman Elagin (RUS) I BMW X3 CC I 02:04:21
08) Faisal Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) I Toyota HiLux I 02:18:00
09) Mubarak Al-Hajri (QAT)/Arif Yousef Mohammed (UAE) I Chevrolet LS3 I 02:21:30
10) Reinaldo Varala (BRA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) I Nissan Patrol I 02:26:15
Sealine Cross-Country Rally - Cars overall results after SS4
01) Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Lucas Cruz Senra (ESP) I Toyota Hilux I 11:20:59
02) Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) I Toyota Hilux I 12:10:22
03) Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei (UAE)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) I Mini All4 Racing I 12:18:07
04) Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) I Schlesser I 12:21:48
05) Faisal Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) I Toyota HiLux I 13:02:48
06) Boris Gadasin (RUS)/Dan Shchemel (RUS) I G-Force Proto I 13:03:02
07) Ilya Kusnetsov (RUS)/Roman Elagin (RUS) I BMW X3 CC I 13:23:37
08) Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khalid Al-Kendi (UAE) I Nissan Patrol I 16:26:40
09) Reinaldo Varala (BRA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) I Nissan Patrol I 16:43:23
10) Vadym Nesterchuk (UKR)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) I Toyota LC200 I 20:30:41
View all results: timing.sporttraxx.com/races/
2012/04/21 | 14:39 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/HS/PERKINS