RUSSIA & QATAR KICK OFF THE SEASON’S FIA WORLD CUP FOR CROSS COUNTRY | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

RUSSIA & QATAR KICK OFF THE SEASON’S FIA WORLD CUP FOR CROSS COUNTRY

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19.02.19.

Finland’s Tapio Lauronen and Toni Tapio Lauronen take victory on the first Baja of the season; Qatar’s national sporting hero and three-time Dakar Rally victor Nasser Saleh Al Attiya eyes sixth win on his home cross country rally.

The 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross Country is on course for another demanding season as competitors face an epic adventure over an immense variety of some of the most challenging and demanding terrain the world has to offer. In a move to improve the structure of the discipline and encourage competitors to participate in more events, the World Cup has been divided into two categories from this season, better reflecting the specific nature of the individual events. The longer FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies now form a separate series to the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas, which take in shorter, but no less arduous two-day events across Europe and the Middle East.

The world’s only snow and ice Baja, the Russia-Northern Forest, kicked off the season’s action last weekend in the Republic of Karelia where crews from a record 15 countries participated. Tapio Lauronen took the win in his Mitsubishi Pajero, the Finn ahead of Russia’s own Vladimir Vasilyev who finished third in last year’s World Cup.

Copyright: Den Bushkovskiy

Attention now turns to the Qatar Cross Country Rally (21-26 February) which marks the start of the World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. The event is renowned as being one of the most demanding as far as navigation is concerned and looks set to host a spectacular season-opener in the desert land of the State. Rivalry is sure to be intense as no fewer than three of last year’s top four Championship contenders go head-to-head. Poland’s Jakub Przygonski not only won last year’s event but went on to take a maiden title after an impressive 11-round season saw him off the podium only twice.

Nasser Saleh Al Attiya, multiple title winner across a number of rally championships, including cross country, will be looking to uphold honours for his home country. The Qatari, who has won the event five times in the last seven years, will be back behind the wheel of his Dakar-winning Toyota Hilux eyeing his second victory of the year.

Vladimir Vasilyev, title winner in 2014 and third after last year’s assault, claimed second in 2018 and the Russian is once again sure to be fighting at the front after his Russian podium placing.

The FIA seeded crews, from a total entry of 27 cars and one truck, form a formidable entry however and include 2013 T3 Cup winner Yasir Hamad Seaidn who finished third in Qatar last year, Yazeed Mohammed Al-Rajhi who claimed the win on the 2018 Rally Kazakhstan, with his Overdrive Racing team-mate Bernhard Ten Brinke also delivering some impressive performances. Miroslav Zapletal rounds out the four-wheel drive crews, with Mohammed Abu Issa in a two-wheel drive Buggy and Reinaldo Marques Varela looking to debut the newly homologated T3 Can-Am Maverick side-by-side.

The Doha based Losail Sports Arena and the stadium grounds will host Rally Headquarters and the bivouac. The action kicks off with a ceremonial start on Thursday 21 February on the exotic Pearl-Qatar island with the following day hosting the shortest desert stage of the event. Saturday and Sunday crews are faced with one long stage per day while Monday’s fourth leg is contested over two stages. The climax on Tuesday 26 February sees the remaining crews tackle a 263.88-kilometre stage before heading to the podium ceremony back at Pearl-Qatar.

RALLY DATA

Total distance   

2,126.46 km

Selective section distance:

1,398.60 (65.77%)

Number of selective sections:

6

 

QATAR CROSS COUNTRY RALLY – TIMETABLE & MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Thursday 21 February

 

Scrutineering                  

From 09:00 hrs

Pre-event Press Conference

17:45 hrs

Ceremonial Start, Pearl-Qatar

18:30 hrs

 

Friday 22 February – Leg 1

 

Start of SS1 (109.76 kilometres)

12:10 hrs

First car arrives bivouac              

14:31 hrs

 

Saturday 23 February – Leg 2

 

Start of SS2 (323.58 kilometres)

08:45 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

13:20 hrs

 

Sunday 24 February – Leg 3

 

Start of SS3 (351.98 kilometres)

08:35 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

13:20 hrs

                                         

Monday 25 February – Leg 4

 

Start of SS4 (227.99 kilometres)

08:05 hrs

Start of SS5 (121.41 kilometres)

11:20 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

14:15 hrs

                                          

Tuesday 26 February – Leg 5

 

Start of SS6 (263.88 kilometres)

08:05 hrs

Parc Fermé, Losail Sports Arena

12:00 hrs

Post event Press Conference     

17:30 hrs

Prize-Giving and podium ceremony, Pearl-Qatar

18:00 hrs