CC Stage wins for Al-Attiyah and Coma in Sealine Cross-Country Rally
Sealine Cross-Country Rally, Qatar - April 15th-21st, 2012
2012 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 3
2012 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, round 2
For immediate release
Wednesday, April 18th 2012
AL-ATTIYAH, COMA AND AL-ZAROUNI CLAIM STAGE DESERT
STAGE VICTORIES IN QATAR’S SEALINE CROSS-COUNTRY RALLY
· Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah cruises into massive lead with Toyota Hilux
· Spain’s Marc Coma snatches slender motorcycle lead for KTM
· UAE’s Al-Zarouni snatches overall advantage in quad category
SEALINE BEACH RESORT (Qatar): Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, Spain’s Marc Coma and the UAE’s Atif Al-Zarouni set the fastest times in their respective car, bike and quad sections on the first 330.51km special stage of the Sealine Cross-Country Rally through the southern Qatar desert on Wednesday.
Al-Attiyah extended his 8.7-second overnight lead to a staggering 11m 07s after heading off into the distance at the wheel of his Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux.
The Qatari used his extensive knowledge of the local terrain to perfection to trounce the opposition. He even managed to overtake all the motorcycles and was the first competitor to reach the finish of the stage.
Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez set the second fastest time in another Toyota and Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi was third in a Mini All4 Racing, but a one-minute time penalty for Alvarez means that the Saudi holds a provisional second in the overall rankings. Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser, Qatar’s Faisal Al-Attiyah and Dubai’s Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei rounded off the top six.
“Today was a very long stage and the first time that much of this terrain has been used,” said Al-Attiyah. “I had no problems at all. But it was difficult to open the road. I am so impressed with the performance of the Toyota. It is an excellent car and this is a great shakedown for me in advance of the next Dakar.”
Joan Barreda Bort carved his way through the motorcycle field, passing numerous slower bikes and held the lead over Coma until the later part of the special. The championship leader seized his opportunity to snatch the stage win late on, however, and moved into a slender six-second lead over his Spanish rival at the overnight halt.
Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues finished third. Fellow countryman Paolo Goncalves damaged the mousse in his front tyre and was forced to try and reach the stage finish on a wheel rim. He eventually recorded the unofficial 24th fastest time, 78 minutes behind the stage winner.
The faster sections of the stage were not ideally suited to the quads, but Poland’s Lukasz Laskawiec led the category on his Yamaha until mechanical problems cost him dearly. The UAE’s Atif Al-Zarouni duly reached the finish as the first classified quad rider on his Honda 450, with Poland’s Rafal Sonik in second place.
Stage one - 330.51km
After the top 10 riders had chosen their starting positions for the day’s stage it was left to Australia’s Matthew Fish (KTM) to lead the 29 bikes, 11 quads and 24 cars into the special in ideal weather conditions – minimal wind and clear visibility. Stage winner Barreda Bort opted to start at the rear of the bike and quad field in 40th position, with Rodrigues and Coma slotting into 39th and 38th.
‘Chaleco’ Lopez began the stage from second on the road and passed Fish after 25 minutes to take the virtual stage lead. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Mansoori suffered technical problems and was unable to take the start on time and began at the rear of the field.
Lopez was the first to reach PC1, but Barreda Bort recorded the quickest time to increase his virtual lead. Al-Attiyah cruised into a comfortable lead in the car category and passed the first control point in 41m 56s, 2m 32s ahead of Russia’s Vladimir Vasilyev. Emirati Nooh Buhumaid stopped shortly after the start with mechanical problems and Saudi’s Yasir Saeidan and Saleh Abdul Ali were also in trouble.
Barreda Bort passed Coma and maintained a 1m 14s lead to the refuelling point, as Al-Attiyah reached the same point nearly nine minutes faster than the leading bike and 8m 42s clear of rival Schlesser. The Qatari began to reel in many of the front-running bikes as well and reached PC3 behind bike front-runner David Casteu, having overtaken everyone else on the stage. Barreda Bort maintained a virtual 55-second lead over Coma in the motorcycles.
The flying Qatari overtook Casteu soon afterwards and opened the road for the first time heading towards PC4 – a control that he passed in under 2h 40m. Weather conditions began to deteriorate in the camp as the leaders closed in on the stage end.
Barreda Bort maintained a 57-second advantage over Coma heading towards the sand dunes near the finish, but Coma sneaked through in the sand, as he and Al-Attiyah confirmed their respective stage wins in very different circumstances.
Tomorrow (Thursday), competitors tackle a repeat of the 330.51km loop stage through the southern extremities of Qatar, with the first bike beginning the test at the same time - 06.00hrs. The stage features four passage controls and a refuelling point for the motorcycles at PC2.
Sealine Cross-Country Rally – positions after SS1 (330.51km)
(unofficial @ 12.15hrs)
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Lucas Cruz Senra (ESP) Toyota Hilux 3h 06m 19s
2. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini All4 Racing 3h 17m 26s
3. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) Toyota Hilux 3h 18m 19s
4. Faisal Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota HiLux 3h 23m 11s
5. Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA)/Konstantin Zlitstov (RUS) Schlesser Original 3h 24m 54s
6. Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei (UAE)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) Mini All4 Racing 3h 26m 46s
7. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Vitaliy Yevtyekhov (RUS) G-Force Proto 3h 36m 30s
8. Boris Gadasin (RUS)/Dan Shchemel (RUS) G-Force Proto 3h 41m 52s
9. Ilya Kusnetsov (RUS)/Roman Elagin (RUS) BMW X3 CC 3h 46m 57s
10. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Miloslav Janacek (CZE) BMW X3 CC 3h 50m 40s
1. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica 3h 50m 41s
2. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP) Husqvarna TE 449 RR 3h 50m 47s
3. Helder Rodrigues (PRT) Yamaha YZ 450 3h 53m 51s
4. Ruben Faria (PRT) KTM Rally Replica 3h 56m 33s
5. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica 3h 57m 04s
6. Jakub Przygonski (POL) KTM 450 Rally 3h 58m 35s
7. Alessandro Botturi (ITA) TM Rally 450 4h 00m 17s
8. Sean Gaugain (ZAF) Honda CRF 450 X 4h 02m 04s
9. David Casteu (FRA) Yamaha 450 YZ 4h 03m 55s
10. Paolo Ceci (ITA) KTM 450 Rally Replica 4h 04m 48s, etc
20. Atif Al-Zarouni (UAE) Honda 450 4h 51m 43s
22. Rafal Sonik (POL) Honda TRX 700 5h 03m 37s
25. Luis Henderson (URY) Yamaha Raptor 700 5h 10m 06s
28. Obaid Al-Mitbe (UAE) Honda TRX 700 XX 5h 21m 09s
29. Dennis Nikitopoulos (QAT) Yamaha Raptor 700 5h 24m 11s
30. Todor Hristov (BGR) Yamaha Raptor 700 5h 29m 41s, etc
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, International Press Officer, 2012 Sealine Cross-Country Rally, Qatar Mobile: + 974 554 79937, E-mail: NDPPublicity@googlemail.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases). Facebook group for information: 2011-2012 MERC.