CC Second Sealine stage victories for Al-Attiyah, Sunderland and Abu Issa

Sealine Cross-Country Rally, Qatar - April 19th-25th, 2014
2014 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 4
2014 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, round 2

For immediate release
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014


· Al-Attiyah, Coma and Abu Issa hold overall Sealine leads
· Navigational mistake costs KTM’s Ruben Faria his chance
· Longest selective section of entire event planned for Wednesday

SEALINE (Qatar): Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, Dubai-based Briton Sam Sunderland and Qatar’s Mohammed Abu Issa won the punishing 396.46km second selective section of the Sealine Cross-Country Rally on Tuesday. Al-Attiyah, Spaniard Marc Coma and Abu Issa hold the unofficial outright leads in the car, motorcycle and quad categories.

Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel led from start-to-finish in their Mini All4 Racing and managed to extend their overall lead to 24min 29sec over Saudi’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi and his German co-driver Timo Gottschalk in an Overdrive Toyota Hilux.

“It was a good day, no problems,” said the Qatari. “To be the first car and open the road is not easy, but the feeling with the car was incredible. Matthieu did a great job for the second day. I pushed hard and I knew this would be a test for him as well. But it was a good job. Maybe I soften the rear suspension tomorrow to make the wheels travel better over the rocky ground, but I am not worried about opening again. I am very happy.”

Yazeed Al-Rajhi was upbeat despite losing his way three times. “I started well and was driving well,” said the Saudi. “Then we lost our way. It is easy to do that in Qatar. There were three Minis going round and round until one of us found the track. I lost four or five minutes, but the goal was to be in front of Vladimir (Vasilyev) and I am doing that, so that’s okay.”

Overnight motorcycle leader Joan Barreda was always going to struggle opening the stage and he reached the finish in sixth position, as Sunderland claimed the stage win and climbed from seventh overall to fifth.

“It looks good on paper to have won the stage, but the strategy and the tactics mean that I will lose it all again tomorrow,” said Sunderland. “Nice stage, tricky navigation and it’s good to get the stage win, but this rally had no Prologue and my seeding position was not really favourable, so I’m back to square one again.”

Coma holds the unofficial lead. “Today was a better rhythm and a better balance for me,” said the four-time Dakar winner. “It’s a case of finding the balance between speed and concentrating on the navigation. To lead the way for 400km is never easy. Temperatures were not a factor, but the sand is more compact in the mornings and that helps a lot. I will just keep going and see.”

Qatar’s Abu Issa was in inspired form on his Honda quad and he managed to catch and ride with Poland’s Rafal Sonik to extend the lead he had inherited on Monday evening when Sonik incurred a five-minute time penalty. Adel Hussein Abdullah was running well behind the leading duo in third place.

“I started two minutes behind Rafal (Sonik) and managed to catch and ride with him,” said Abu Issa. Then, after 178km, at the refuel, I got fuel in my googles and they began to melt. I had to ride on without goggles until Rafal lent me a pair of googles. It was not comfortable at all today, but I managed to keep the lead.”

SS2 – as it happened

The 396.46km second selective section included four passage controls at the 29.75km, 130.03km, 178.67km and 244.93km points. Three quads, 15 motorcycles and 20 cars started the special. A fire had badly damaged Saudi driver Ahmed Al-Shegawi’s Chevrolet Buggy on Monday afternoon and he retired.

Rafal Sonik was awarded a five-minute time penalty after stage one by race officials for having a missing time card and he slipped behind Mohammed Abu Issa and Adel Hussein in the quad rankings. Car drivers Holowczyc and Al-Rajhi were handed one-minute time penalties for minor speeding violations.

The special started to the far south-west of Doha and headed north through the desert along the western coast, before turning south, passing under the Salwa road, and then east across the south of the country to a finish 4.85km from the Sealine bivouac.

Sunderland was in fine form early on and was 55sec quicker than nearest rival Rodrigues to PC1 and Abu Issa had extended his virtual lead over Sonik by 2min 11sec in the quad category. Al-Attiyah continued to edge clear of his rivals and was 40sec quicker than Al-Rajhi to the checkpoint.

Sunderland continued to edge clear of the pack in virtual terms at PC2 and PC3. The Briton was comfortably quicker than Paolo Goncalves, as the tail-enders in the leading group continued to close in on the front-runners. By PC3 and PC4, Barreda, Coma, Goncalves, Viladoms and Sunderland were riding close together and Al-Attiyah extended his advantage over Al-Rajhi to 6min 29sec in the car category.

Sunderland held on to take the stage win and reduce some of the damage his navigational problems had caused on Monday, but it was Faria’s turn to lose his way on the second stage and the Portuguese plummeted out of contention for the win after taking a wrong track early on. He finished the stage before any other rider, but could look forward to over 25hrs of time penalties at the bivouac.

“I lost the way very early and came back into the stage to reach the finish, but it’s over now for me with all the waypoints I missed,” admitted the Portuguese.

Al-Attiyah reached the stage finish 11min 15sec in front of his nearest rival in the car category to record a second stage win from Pole Martin Kaczmarski. Al-Rajhi lost time between PC2 and PC3 with navigational errors and finished the stage in third, but moved up to second overall.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), competitors will tackle the longest stage of the entire event – a torturous 411.76km loop stage through southern Qatar – with the first bike reaching the start at 05.45hrs.

2014 Sealine Cross-Country Rally – positions on SS2 (396.46km) – unofficial @ 13.45hrs:

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 3hr 43min 21sec
2. Martin Kaczmarski (POL)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini All4 Racing 3hr 54min 36sec
3. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (GER) Toyota Hilux 3hr 55min 16sec
4. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Mini All4 Racing 4hr 04min 22sec
5. Marek Dabrowski (POL)/Jacek Czachor (POL) Toyota Hilux 4hr 07min 57sec
6. Adam Malysz (POL)/Rafal Marton (POL) Toyota Hilux 4hr 12min 55sec
7. Reinaldo Varela (BRA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) Toyota Hilux 4hr 18min 24sec
8. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Andreas Schulz (GER) Mini All4 Racing 4hr 24min 29sec

1. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 4hr 22min 22sec
2. Paolo Goncalves (PRT) Honda CRF 450 4hr 24min 26sec
3. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) KTM 450 4hr 30min 29sec
4. Helder Rodrigues (PRT) Honda CRF 450 4hr 30min 52sec
5. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 450 4hr 32min 25sec
6. Joan Barreda (ESP) Honda CRF 450 4hr 34min 23sec
7. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 5hr 04min 36sec

9. Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT) Honda TRX 680 5hr 23min 08sec
10. Rafal Sonik (POL) Honda TRX 700 5hr 25min 07sec

TBA. Adel Hussein (QAT) Yamaha Raptor 700 TBA

2014 Sealine Cross-Country Rally – overall positions after SS2 – unofficial @ 13.45hrs:

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 5hr 13min 18sec
2. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (GER) Toyota Hilux 5hr 37min 47sec
3. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Mini All4 Racing 5hr 43min 43sec
4. Adam Malysz (POL)/Rafal Marton (POL) Toyota Hilux 5hr 54min 36sec
5. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Andreas Schulz (GER) Mini All4 Racing 5hr 58min 10sec
6. Martin Kaczmarski (POL)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini All4 Racing 6hr 00min 19sec
7. Marek Dabrowski (POL)/Jacek Czachor (POL) Toyota Hilux 6hr 03min 47sec
8. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Maciej Marton (POL) Hummer H3 6hr 30min 14sec
9. Andrey Cherednikov (KAZ)/Dmitro Tsyro (KAZ) Toyota 6hr 31min 09sec
10. Reinaldo Varela (BRA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) Toyota Hilux 6hr 33min 30sec

1. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 450 6hr 15min 58sec
2. Joan Barreda (ESP) Honda CRF 450 6hr 16min 54sec
3. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) KTM 450 6hr 18min 04sec
4. Paolo Goncalves (PRT) Honda CRF 450 6hr 18min 27sec
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 6hr 21min 56sec
6. Helder Rodrigues (PRT) Honda CRF 450 6hr 22min 17sec
7. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 6hr 54min 10sec

8. Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT) Honda TRX 680 7hr 38min 58sec
9. Rafal Sonik (POL) Honda TRX 700 7hr 43min 55sec
TBA. Adel Hussein (QAT) Yamaha Raptor 700 TBA

Note: Results exclude additional time penalties that may be added later by race officials.


Day 3 - Wednesday
SS3 - 144.11km (1st bike 08.15hrs/1st car 09.15hrs)
Doha/Salwa Rd
Follow Salwa Rd until the last roundabout before the Saudi border.
The competitors will pass the roundabout on a speed control zone (maximum speed of 50 km/h) going towards the sea. After the end of the tarmac they go full speed on a very interesting track parallel to the sea and the highway.

Follow the action:


Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, International Press Officer, 2014 Sealine Cross-Country Rally, Qatar Mobile: + 974 55292739, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@googlemail.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases), Twitter: @LordPerkins



Date issued: 22/04/2014

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