CC Yazeed Al-Rajhi romps into Saudi Ha'il Desert Challenge lead


For immediate release
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012


· Frenchman Thierry Magnaldi holds second place in his Toyota FJ Cruiser
· Qatar’s Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani surges into top three in Ha’il
· UAE duo of Yayha Al-Helai and David Mabbs in fifth and eighth positions

HA’IL (Saudi Arabia): Saudi Arabia’s top rally driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi and his Portuguese co-driver Filipe Palmeiro held a commanding lead of 27.6 seconds after the opening timed 6.63km super special stage at the start of the 2012 Saudi Arabia Ha’il Desert Challenge in north-central Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday afternoon.

Al-Rajhi led the 30-car entry away from the ceremonial start at the Maghwat conference centre in Ha’il in his X-raid Mini All4 Racing, as he bids to become the first driver to win the event for a third time.

The impressive entry for the FIA sanctioned event, being run by the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) under the presidency of His Royal Highness Prince Sultan Bin Bandar Al-Faisal, was flagged away from the start by His Royal Highness Prince Saud Bin Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of Ha’il, President of the Supreme Commission for Ha’il Development and the Head of the Supreme Commission of the Ha’il Rally.

Frenchman Thierry Magnaldi and his Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz Senra held second position in a Toyota FJ Cruiser Proto run by Abdullah Bakhashab’s Toyota Team Saudi Arabia. Qatar’s Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani, the 1993 FIA Middle East rally champion, held third position with UAE-based co-driver Arif Yousef Mohammed and Abdullah Saed Bin Hamden was fourth in a Nissan Patrol.

The UAE’s Yayha Al-Helai and Dubai-based Briton David Mabbs were classified fifth and eighth through the short opening stage in their respective Nissan Patrol and Toyota FJ Cruiser. Regular WRC co-driver Michael Orr, from Northern Ireland, teamed up with Saudi driver Salah Abdul Aal for the first time in a Nissan and the pair held 14th overall after the short stage.

Tomorrow (Thursday) marks the first of the two days of desert action across the An Nafud desert, with a 257.43km special stage on the agenda. The first car is scheduled to leave Ha’il at 08.00hrs for the 99.61km liaison section to the start of the stage at Jubbah from 09.55hrs. A 109.67km liaison guides teams back to the Maghwat conference centre in Ha’il on Thursday afternoon.

Positions after super special stage (unofficial @ 16.20hrs):
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini All4 Racing 4m 53.9s
2. Thierry Magnaldi (FRA)/Lucas Cruz Senra (ESP) Toyota FJ Cruiser Proto 5m 21.5s
3. Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani (QAT)/Arif Yousef Mohammed (UAE) Nissan 5m 41.8s
4. Abdullah Saeed Bin Hamdan (UAE)/Ali Hassan (UAE) Nissan Patrol 5m 44.9s
5. Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khaled Al-Kendi (UAE) Nissan Patrol 5m 46.2s
6. Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (KSA)/ Fayez Al-Suwaidi (KSA) Nissan 5m 50.1s
7. Mtair Al-Shammeri (KSA)/Abdullah Al-Shammeri (KSA) Toyota 5m 50.2s
8. David Mabbs (GBR)/Xavier Caminada (FRA) Toyota FJ Cruiser 5m 51.5s
9. Khaled Saleh Al-Shammeri (KSA)/Ahmed Saeed Al-Shammeri (KSA) Mitsubishi 5m 51.5s
10. Safah Al-Saeedi (KSA)/Mishaal Al-Saeedi (KSA) Nissan 5m 52.5s
11. Farhan Al-Ghaleb Al-Shammeri (KSA)/Abdullah Al-Tawaiaan (KSA) Nissan 5m 55.8s
12. Ahmed Al-Qashimi (KSA)/Abdel Halim Bin Zayed (UAE) Nissan 6m 00.6s
13. Metab Saud Al-Shammeri (KSA)/Qnoun Abdullah (KSA) Toyota 6m 00.8s
14. Salah Abdul Aal (KSA)/Michael Orr (GBR) Nissan 6m 02.3s
15. Ahmed Al-Shaqawi (KSA)/Nooh Buhumaid (UAE) Nissan 6m 03.2s, etc


For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2012 Saudi Arabia Ha’il Desert Challenge International Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).

Arabic: Firas Nimri, Mobile: + 962 777 282000, E-mail: nimrifiras@yahoo.com.



Date issued: 21/03/2012

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