Al Attiyah leads; Al Rajhi inches into second | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Al Attiyah leads; Al Rajhi inches into second

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After the longest selective section of the Qatar Cross Country Rally, Nasser Al Attiyah continues to lead but the battle for second rages between Yazeed Al Rajhi and Jakub Przygonski.

National sporting hero Nasser Al Attiyah continues to lead his home event, the Qatari bidding for a sixth win on the Qatar Cross Country Rally. He and co-driver Matthieu Baumel took their third consecutive stage win today, but only marginally extended their advantage over the 351.98 competitive kilometre section. They now head Toyota team-mates Yazeed Mohammed Al Rajhi/Dirk Von Zitzewitz by 9’52”. The Saudi Arabian driver overhauled reigning champion Jakub Przygonski in the section, but the rivals are split by only 54 seconds after nearly seven and a half hours of competition.

Sunday’s third leg was the longest of the event and provided a mix of rough and rocky tracks, dunes and camel grass over the section that started southwest of Doha. Al Attiyah, once again first on the road, started the day with just over eight minutes in hand to Przygonski and was unbeaten through all four passage controls. After an exhausting three and a half hours of flat-out driving which, put in perspective is more than some full three-day FIA World Rally Championship events, Al Attiyah arrived back at the bivouac satisfied with his day in the cockpit. “It was a good day, not easy near the start in the dunes and the navigation was difficult, but we made no mistakes,” he said. “We tried to push in places when the feeling was good, but we were also saving the car too. We had no navigation mistakes, just one problem with a tyre delamination near the end of the stage but we managed to finish okay.”

Al Rajhi has climbed into second but the Saudi Arabian driver is only 54 seconds ahead of Przygonski. He gained a couple of minutes on the Pole at the start of the stage to close to within 19 seconds, but it was not until the final section that he managed to overhaul his rival to take the position, despite collecting a puncture. Przygonski admitted to losing the time at the end of the stage, but had good rhythm and speed and enjoyed the long dusty trouble-free section.

Vladimir Vasilyev is fourth in the BMW X3CC, trailing the leading trio by a further 23 minutes but happy to be back at the bivouac after a mechanical problem and puncture in the section. He is 47 minutes ahead of Yasir Hamad Seaidan who had similar woes in the Mini. Miroslav Zapletal has moved one position up the leaderboard into sixth, at the expense of Eugenio Amos who stopped early in the section when he felt unwell. Zapletal also had a puncture and four small navigation errors and has over an hour in hand to Bernhard Ten Brinke, who dropped down the order yesterday with punctures and broken steering. His rally didn’t get much better today when he and co-driver Tom Colsoul lost their way and dropped 36 minutes to the leaders over the section. They are nevertheless seventh overall.

Reinaldo Marques Varela continues to lead the T3 category in his Can-Am Maverick and is eighth overall, nearly two hours ahead of category rival Fedor Vorobyev in similar machinery. Khalid Faraj Al Mohannadi is 10th in the Polaris PZR while Camelia Liparoti, the only lady competing in the rally, is 11th in her T3 Yamaha YZX. Mohammed Al Meer is up to 12th and now leads T2 in the Toyota Landcruiser.

Monday’s leg is the only one to feature two selective sections. Crews leave the Lusail Sports Arena for the first 227.99 kilometre stage before a short road section takes them to the penultimate 121.41 kilometre section.

Qatar Cross Country Rally – Provisional classification after Leg 3 (16:00 hrs local)


Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel

Toyota Hilux

7hr 12min 42sec


Yazeed Mohammed Al-Rajhi/Dirk Von Zitzewitz

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

7hr 22min 34sec


Jakub Przygonski/Timo Gottschalk

John Cooper Works Rally

7hr 23min 28sec


Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov


7hr 47min 10sec


Yasir Hamad Seaidan/Laurent Lichtleuchter

X-raid Mini

8hr 34min 47sec


Miroslav Zapletal/ Marek Sykora

F150 Evo

9hr 00min 34sec


Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

10hr 02min 17sec


Reinaldo Marques Varela/Gustavo Souza Gugelmin

Can-Am Maverick

10hr 21min 56sec


Fedor Vorobyev/Kirill Shubin

Can-Am Maverick

12hr 11min 11sec


Khalid Faraj Al Mohannadi/Minaudier Loic

Polaris RZR

12hr 39min 22sec


Yazeed Al Rajhi, 2nd overall after Leg 3

Reinaldo Marques Varela leads T3