CC Al-Rajhi, Barreda Bort and Laskawiec star on second stage of 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
Thursday, April 19th 2012
AL-RAJHI, BARREDA BORT AND LASKAWIEC STAR ON
SECOND SEALINE CROSS-COUNTRY RALLY DESERT STAGE
· Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah’s lead whittled down to 8m 55s
· Barreda Bort wins bike stage as Coma sees overall lead reduced
· Poland’s Laskawiec wins quad section; Pole Sonik on top overall
· Barreda Bort penalised two hours for missing a route waypoint
SEALINE BEACH RESORT (Qatar): Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort and Poland’s Lukasz Laskawiec were the star performers after a repeat run through the 330.51km special stage of the Sealine Cross-Country Rally in the southern Qatar desert on Thursday.
Al-Rajhi and Portuguese co-driver Filipe Palmeiro claimed an excellent stage victory in their Mini All4 Racing to reduce local hero Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah’s overall lead to 8m 55s heading into the last two days of the third round of the FIA World Cup. Barreda Bort overtook numerous rivals in the motorcycle category to clinch the fastest time on two wheels.
“I felt good about the stage today,” said Al-Rajhi. “Yesterday I did not know anything about the tracks and I lost nearly seven minutes with two punctures. Today I planned to attack and it worked perfectly. This is a fantastic stage win for me, especially here in Qatar. I even had a puncture near the finish at kilometre 268 and I was delayed a little by passing some of the other cars.”
Al-Attiyah finished the stage in second position with his Overdrive Toyota Hilux and Dubai’s Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei set the third quickest time and this was enough to push the Fazza Rally Team driver up from sixth to third and, more importantly, in front of championship rival Jean-Louis Schlesser.
“Today the stage was much rougher than yesterday and more difficult,” said Al-Attiyah. “I had a puncture but I am still quite happy because I have a comfortable lead and we have the most difficult stage of the event tomorrow.”
Marc Coma now has a reduced overall lead of 68 seconds over Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues in the motorcycle category after the pair finished the day’s stage together. But Barreda Bort was the revelation of the day after incurring a crippling two-hour penalty on Wednesday evening for an alleged route violation.
The Spaniard mounted a superb charge through the field on Thursday to win the special by 7m 10s, but a game of cat and mouse is now expected between Coma and Rodrigues over the final two days. Spain’s Jordi Viladoms climbed to third overall.
Poland’s Lukasz Laskawiec suffered a breakdown on the first stage while leading the quad category, but the Yamaha rider made amends on stage two to confirm the fastest time. Qatar’s Adel Hussain Abdullah also recovered from first day delays to claim second position, but Poland’s Rafal Sonik retained the overall lead.
In three separate incidents on Thursday morning, emergency services were called to three quad riders who had crashed at the same place. Russian rider Vadim Kuvshinov suffered a broken left femur – a repeat of a former injury – and the Bulgarian Yamaha duo of Todor Hristov and Zornitsa Todorova were also taken to Hamed hospital in Doha, the former for treatment to suspected shoulder bruising and the latter for further checks.
Stage two - 330.51km
Denmark’s Jes Munk was forced to withdraw from the race after Wednesday’s stage because of a recurrent wrist injury. The Dane finished the first special in 15th position, but was in pain from a persistent Dakar injury and was unable to continue.
The real loser from the evening’s FIM meeting was Barreda Bort, who was penalised two hours at the overnight halt for missing a crucial waypoint. That decision cost him second overall and pushed him down to 34th.
Time penalties were also imposed on several leading drivers who had not adhered to the new maximum stage speed limits. Amongst those to receive a one-minute penalty were car leader Al-Attiyah, his cousin Faisal Al-Attiyah and Vladimir Vasilyev. This meant that the Qatari’s overall lead over Al-Rajhi was reduced to 10m 07s.
Neither the UAE’s Nooh Buhumaid nor Qatar’s Sheikh Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani took the start of the second stage, where Schlesser and Al-Mutaiwei followed Al-Attiyah into the desert. But it was Coma who led the entire field into a repeat of the previous day’s stage. He passed PC1 first on the road, but Rodrigues trimmed the Spaniard’s bike lead by a virtual 19 seconds.
Barreda Bort was in flying form. Aggrieved after receiving the penalty on Wednesday evening, the Spaniard began the stage from 34th position and mounted a determined charge. The Husqvarna rider was 3m 04s faster than his nearest rival through PC1. Al-Attiyah reached the checkpoint in under 40 minutes – over two minutes quicker than the previous day – as Barreda Bort opened up a huge lead in the motorcycle category on the day’s stage at PC2.
Al-Rajhi had suffered two punctures on the first stage and opted to take three spare wheels on this occasion. He had been running on a similar pace to Al-Attiyah at the first PC on day one and reached the check point 73 seconds in front of his rival on Thursday morning. He extended that virtual stage lead to 3m 09s at PC2, as Schlesser fell behind Al-Mutaiwei in the overall rankings after delays and was overtaken by a flying Al-Rajhi.
Barreda Bort maintained his charge and had already taken over seven minutes from Coma by PC3. The world championship leader had other things on his mind, however. He had started the day 3m 10s in front of Rodrigues and the Portuguese regained 1m 29s of that time at the third checkpoint.
The pair raced together to the stage finish and Rodrigues managed to claw back 2m 02s of Coma’s advantage, as Barreda Bort followed soon afterwards to confirm the fastest time of the day. Coma headed into the camp with his lead reduced to an unofficial 68 seconds.
Al-Attiyah reached the stage finish seven minutes quicker than the previous day, but Al-Rajhi maintained his impressive pace to seal an excellent stage win for the X-raid team. Al-Mutaiwei finished third and Faisal Al-Attiyah passed the flying finish boards in fourth position.
Tomorrow (Friday), competitors tackle the longest stage of the entire event – a 357.99km loop through the southern Qatar desert. The first bike will start at a similar time of 06.00hrs, with the leading car joining the competition at 7.15hrs.
The stage starts in the same place, before heading west across the other side of the Salwa Road and then turning south towards Abu Samra and then east towards the Inland Sea. It offers faster and harder tracks, less sand dunes that the first two days and finishes in the same position.
Positions on SS2 (330.51km) - unofficial @ 12.00hrs
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini All4 Racing 2h 53m 27s
2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Lucas Cruz Senra (ESP) Toyota Hilux 2h 54m 39s
3. Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei (UAE)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) Mini All4 Racing 3h 03m 15s
4. Faisal Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota HiLux 3h 08m 40s
5. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) Toyota Hilux 3h 13m 14s
6. Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA)/Konstantin Zlitstov (RUS) Schlesser Original 3h 18m 56s
7. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Miloslav Janacek (CZE) BMW X3 CC 3h 24m 36s
8. Ilya Kusnetsov (RUS)/Roman Elagin (RUS) BMW X3 CC 3h 23m 37s
9. Boris Gadasin (RUS)/Dan Shchemel (RUS) G-Force Proto 3h 24m 45s
10. Patrick Sireyjol (FRA)/Francois-Xavier Beguin (BEL) SMG Buggy 3h 44m 19s
1. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP) Husqvarna TE 449 RR 3h 33m 31s
2. Helder Rodrigues (PRT) Yamaha YZ 450 3h 40m 41s
3. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica 3h 42m 43s
4. Paolo Goncalves (PRT) Husqvarna TE 449 RR 3h 43m 15s
5. Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez (CHI) KTM 450 Rally Replica 3h 47m 19s
6. Matthew Fish (AUS) KTM 450 3h 47m 47s
7. Gerard Fares Guell (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica 3h 48m 36s
8. Jakub Przygonski (POL) KTM 450 Rally 3h 49m 39s
9. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica 3h 51m 01s
10. Ruben Faria (PRT) KTM Rally Replica 3h 52m 49s
15. Lukasz Laskawiec (POL) Yamaha YFM 700 R 4h 21m 21s
16. Adel Hussain Abdullah (QAT) KTM 525 4h 24m 38s
17. Obaid Al-Kitbe (UAE) Honda TRX 700 XX 4h 24m 42s
20. Rafal Sonik (POL) Honda TRX 700 4h 31m 41s
Overall positions after SS2 (330.51km) - unofficial @ 12.15hrs
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Lucas Cruz Senra (ESP) Toyota Hilux 6h 01m 58s
2. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini All4 Racing 6h 10m 53s
3. Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei (UAE)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) Mini All4 Racing 6h 30m 01s
4. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) Toyota Hilux 6h 31m 23s
5. Faisal Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota HiLux 6h 32m 51s
6. Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA)/Konstantin Zlitstov (RUS) Schlesser Original 6h 43m 50s
7. Boris Gadasin (RUS)/Dan Shchemel (RUS) G-Force Proto 7h 06m 37s
8. Ilya Kusnetsov (RUS)/Roman Elagin (RUS) BMW X3 CC 7h 10m 34s
9. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Miloslav Janacek (CZE) BMW X3 CC 7h 15m 16s
1. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica 7h 33m 24s
2. Helder Rodrigues (PRT) Yamaha YZ 450 7h 34m 32s
3. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica 7h 48m 05s
4. Jakub Przygonski (POL) KTM 450 Rally 7h 48m 14s
5. Ruben Faria (PRT) KTM Rally Replica 7h 49m 22s
6. Gerard Fares Guell (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica 7h 56m 30s
7. Paolo Ceci (ITA) KTM 450 Rally Replica 7h 59m 02s
8. Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez (CHI) KTM 450 Rally Replica 8h 13m 44s
9. Matthew Fish (AUS) KTM 450 8h 15m 56s
10. Sean Gaugain (ZAF) Honda CRF 450 X 8h 28m 48s
TBA. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP) Husqvarna TE 449 RR 9h 24m 18s*
*includes 2hr penalty
18. Rafal Sonik (POL) Honda TRX 700 9h 35m 18s
19. Obaid Al-Kitbe (UAE) Honda TRX 700 XX 9h 45m 51s
20. Luis Henderson (URY) Yamaha Raptor 700 9h 45m 55s
25. Dennis Nikitopoulos (QAT) Yamaha Raptor 700 10h 04m 35s
26. Adel Hussain Abdullah (QAT) KTM 525 10h 10m 10s
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.