Nasser Al Attiyah stakes an early claim on home Qatar Cross Country Rally | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Nasser Al Attiyah stakes an early claim on home Qatar Cross Country Rally

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22.02.19.

Local hero and three-time Dakar winner chases sixth Qatar cross country victory

Nasser Al Attiyah and co-driver Matthieu Baumel have laid down the marker by taking the first stage win on their home Qatar Cross Country Rally, the opening round of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.  The duo head a Toyota Hilux one-two-three with Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul three minutes and five seconds behind in second and team-mates Yazeed Mohammed Al-Rajhi/Dirk von Zitzewitz a further 55 seconds adrift in third.

After an impressive opening ceremony last night on the Pearl-Qatar, crews had just one short 109.76 kilometre stage to contest in the opening leg. Al Attiyah, who is chasing a sixth home win, started third on the road but powered into the lead after a trouble-free run over the notoriously tricky tracks that require precise navigation. “For a short stage, to have a lead of three minutes is very good,” said the Qatari. “It was a little bit tricky with the navigation but we did not have any mistakes. Tomorrow’s long stage is not easy and we’ll have to manage a good speed.”

Dutch team-mate Bernhard Ten Brinke, competing with a new co-driver in Tom Colsoul, had a good rhythm through the stage but admitted to a couple of difficult navigation points and having to drive in his rivals’ dust for around 30 kilometres. Yazeed Mohammed Al-Rajhi holds third in the last of the team’s cars. The Saudi Arabian is also with a new co-driver - Dirk von Zitzewitz - as well as in a new car, and was happy with his third position at the end of the leg.

Reigning FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies champion Jakub Przygonski is fourth and another driver to be competing with a new navigator. The Polish/German pairing, who are communicating in English, made no mistakes and are happy to be starting further behind tomorrow after opening today’s route. Vladimir Vasilyev, who finished second on the opening round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas last weekend on his home snow and ice event in Russia, is fifth, over four minutes off Al Attiyah’s lead but only 10 seconds adrift of Przygonski.

Sixth position is held by Italian Eugenio Amos who is easing himself into the pace having not competed since last year’s Italian Baja. He and French navigator Sebastian Delaunay were forced to stop a couple of times to find the right track but were happy with the pace in their two-wheel drive Ford Buggy. Yasir Hamad Seaidn dropped time with navigation problems and a puncture and is seventh ahead of Qatar’s Mohammed Al Attiyah who is leading the T3 category in the new Can-Am Maverick.

Local driver Mohammed Al Meer leads the T2 category and is ninth overall in a Mitsubishi Landcruiser 200 with Reinaldo Marques Varela, in another T3 Can-Am Maverick, hot on his heels and rounding out the top 10.

On Saturday, crews head back out to the desert for a 323.58 kilometre stage, the second longest of the event.

Qatar Cross Country Rally – Provisional results after Leg 1 (17:00 hrs local)

1

Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel

Toyota Hilux

52min 40sec

2

Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

55min 45sec

3

Yazeed Mohammed Al-Rajhi/Dirk Von Zitzewitz

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

56min 40sec

4

Jakub Przygonski/Timo Gottschalk

John Cooper Works Rally

57min 11sec

5

Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov

BMW X3CC

57min 21sec

6

Eugenio Amos/Sebastian Delaunay

Ford 2WD Buggy

59min 49sec

7

Yasir Hamad Seaidn/Laurent Lichtleuchter

X-raid Mini

1hr 06min 49sec

8

Mohammed Al Attiyah/Sergio Lafuente

Can-Am Maverick

1hr 11min 37sec

9

Mohammed Al Meer/Alexey Kuzmich

Toyota Landcruiser 200

1hr 12min 13sec

10

Reinaldo Marques Varela/Gustavo Souza Gugelmin

Can-Am Maverick

1hr 12min 28sec

 

Photo credit: RallyZone