MERC Yazeed Al-Rajhi leads after opening Sharqia Rally special stage
Sharqia Rally 2010
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 4 of 8
For immediate release
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
SAUDI ARABIA’S YAZEED AL-RAJHI LEADS SHARQIA
RALLY AFTER OPENING SUPER SPECIAL STAGE
· Khalid Al-Qassimi holds second overall; third place for Qatar’s Al-Hajri
· Twenty-three crews reach start of Saudi Arabia’s first ever MERC round
HALF MOON BAY (Saudi Arabia): Saudi Arabian driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel held the outright lead after the opening timed super special stage of the Sharqia Rally, round four of the 2010 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, on Tuesday afternoon in Half Moon Bay.
Twenty-three teams were flagged away from the start of Saudi Arabia’s first ever round of the regional rally series by Prince Jalawi Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Mosaed Al-Saud, deputy governor of the Eastern Province, in the presence of Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) president Mishaal Al-Sudairy.
The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Wael Marjan held second overall in their Ford Fiesta S2000, a mere 0.9 seconds behind the Peugeot 207 S2000 team. Qatar’s Mubarak Al-Hajri and British co-driver Patrik Thomas rounded off the top three at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution after an erroneous stage time for Jaber Al-Marri had been corrected for the short super special stage.
The Saudi Arabian Motor Federation lost seven crews because of the volcanic ash crisis affecting air travel in large sections of Europe. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi withdrew his entry when co-driver Steve Lancaster was stranded in the UK and joint championship leader Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah was unable to make the start.
Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi reached the start with Emirati Wael Marjan standing in as co-driver for the stranded Michael Orr. Team manager Ron Cremen and mercenary mechanic Ian Davies worked as his emergency rally mechanics, although the team were concerned about a gearbox problem before the start and had received a replacement unit from the UAE on the eve of the rally. The problem was finding experienced hands to fit it.
Neither Lebanon’s Michel Saleh nor Jordan’s Amjad Farrah were able to start and only three of Ken Skidmore’s Autotek Motorsport team managed to reach Saudi Arabia before the airspace shutdown. They were tasked with servicing four Qatar cars. “It promises to be quite a challenge for them,” said a stranded Ken Skidmore from his base in northern England.
The three-day event is being held under the patronage of HRH Prince Mohamed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Governor of the Eastern Province and the Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Sharqia Rally, and finishes on Thursday afternoon.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) teams will tackle three desert special stages on two occasions, beginning with a run through the 35.60km Azabnah test from 10.48hrs Passes follow through the 12.60km Al-Ageer and 10.90km Al-Jadidah stages at 11.28hrs and 11.47hrs and the three timed sections are repeated on Wednesday afternoon from 13.30hrs, 14.10hrs and 14.29hrs. .
2010 Sharqia Rally – positions after super special stage (SS1 – unofficial 19.00hrs):
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA)/Matthieu Baumel (F) Peugeot 207 S2000 2m 10.7s
2. Khalid Al-Qassimi (UAE)/Wael Marjan (UAE) Ford Fiesta S2000 2m 11.6s
3. Mubarak Al-Hajri (QA)/Patrik Thomas (GB) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 2m 16.1s
4. Jaber Al-Marri (QA)/Kamal Khoder (QA) Subaru Impreza 2m 16.8s
5. Meshari Al-Thafiri (KT)/Faris Al-Thafiri (KT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 2m 17.2s
6. Misfer Al-Marri (QA)/Nicola Arena (I) Subaru Impreza 2m 17.6s
7. Khaled Al-Suwaidi (QA)/Musabah Marwan (QA) Subaru Impreza 2m 18.3s
8. Saeed Al-Mouri (KSA)/Ali Al-Saiyari (KSA) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 2m 19.1s
8. Essam Al-Nejadi (KT)/Anwar Al-Sharrah (KT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X 2m 19.1s
10. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (QA)/Dale Moscatt (AUS) Subaru Impreza 2m 19.5s
11. Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani (QA)/Arif Yousuf Mohammed (UAE) Subaru Impreza 2m 21.7s
For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2010 Sharqia Rally International Press Liaison, NDP Publicity Services, Tel: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: email@example.com. www.ndp-publicity.com.
Arabic: Firas Nimri, Arabic Press Liaison, Mobile: + 962 777 282000, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.sharqiarally.com/ and www.merc-fia.com
For latest results go to: http://rally.ficr.it or http://timing.sporttraxx.com/races/sharqia-2010/