CC Yazeed Al-Rajhi remains firmly on course for fourth win in Ha'il


For immediate release
Saturday, March 21st, 2015


· Rajah Farhan Al-Shammeri in second overall; Al-Sabban retires
· Nissans dominate the top 10 after two selective sections through An Nafud desert
· Saudi’s Al-Nasser and Al-Khulaifi locked in duel for motorcycle and quad glory

HA’IL (Saudi Arabia): Yazeed Al-Rajhi remained firmly on course for a fourth victory in the Ha’il Nissan International Rally since 2009 by controlling the second of the desert selective sections across the An Nafud desert in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The Hummer driver and his German co-driver Timo Gottschalk led from start-to-finish and now take a commanding lead of over an hour into the final desert stage on Sunday. “I am enjoying this event immensely and not really pushing that hard,” said Al-Rajhi. “I have won the event in three different cars, but never in the Hummer, so that is the goal now for tomorrow. Things are all under control.”

Moteb Saud Al-Shammeri and co-driver Ali Obaid stayed the course and remain one of Al-Rajhi’s closest challengers in their Nissan behind Rajah Farhan Al-Shammeri. Ahmed Al-Gashimi remained on course for a podium finish and a useful third quickest stage time by Khalaf Joan catapulted the Saudi up from 18th overall into the unofficial top five.

Ahmed Al-Nasser regained the unofficial lead in the motorcycle and quad category from Abdul-Majeed Al-Khulaifi, who had been installed as the overnight leader on his Kawasaki quad when results and tracking were checked on Friday evening.

Surviving cars set out into a second 308.41km selective section, while the motorcycles and quads tackled a shorter stage of 125.48km. Results for the latter had been adjusted overnight and Abdul-Majeed Al-Khulaifi began the second day with a lead of 1min 44sec on his Kawasaki over Ahmed Al-Nasser. Sultan Al-Masood was third.

There were no changes at the head of the car category, however, and Al-Rajhi set out into the stage to defend a lead of 31min 19sec over Rajah-Farhan Al-Shammeri against 39 surviving rivals. Owaid Mansi began the day from 17th overall in his Toyota, but retired at the start, as Al-Rajhi began to pull away from the field in his Hummer. Ahmed Al-Sabban, Yayha Al-Helai, Ibrahim Bensahman and Farouk Ghurab were among the non-starters.

Al-Sabban suffered exhaust issues on his Ford Raptor and decided to withdraw to prevent damaging the car’s engine before the upcoming Jeddah Rally.

Defending champion Ibrahim Muhanna began the day in 21st overall, but the Saudi was matching the leader through the closing kilometres and actually led Al-Rajhi by six seconds through the first checkpoint on the special. Farhan-Abdullah Al-Shammeri was also running strongly before being rolling into retirement in the desert north of Al-Faydah.

After over 90 minutes of the stage, Al-Rajhi had a virtual advantage over Moteb-Saud Al-Shammeri of 12min 38sec. Nearest challenger Rajeh Al-Shammeri was running second on the stage behind the leading Hummer. Ahmed Al-Nasser was the unofficial winner of the motorcycle and quad stage and reclaimed the outright advantage from Al-Khulaifi.

There was no stopping Al-Rajhi, however, and the one-sided contest swung further in the Riyadh driver’s favour with another convincing stage win. At the finish near Jabal Aja, northwest of Ha’il, his time of 2hr 57min 16sec was 27min 52sec faster than Moteb Saub Al-Shammeri. Rajah Farhan Al-Shammeri was quicker than his fellow Nissan rival and retained second overall.

Tomorrow (Sunday), cars tackle their third and final selective section of 192.03km between Jubbah and Kna, while the motorcycles and quads are offered a shorter desert stage of 85.37km between Al-Hafer and a finish at Kna.

Positions after leg 2 – Saturday (unofficial @ 14.20hrs):
Cars (top 11 only)

1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Hummer 6hr 28min 48sec
2. Rajah Farhan Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Mubarak Farhan Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan 7hr 21min 49sec
3. Moteb Saud Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Ali Obaid (ARE) Nissan 7hr 30min 17sec
4. Ahmed Al-Gashimi (SAU) Omar Al-Lahim (SAU) Nissan 7hr 49min 17sec
5. Khalaf Joan (SAU)/Joan Al-Shammeri (SAU) Toyota 7hr 54min 58sec
6. Sami Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Abdullah Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan 7hr 57min 35sec
7. Ahmed Al-Shegawi (SAU)/Nooh Buhumaid (ARE) Nissan 8hr 00min 04sec
8. Motair Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Raed Al-Assaf SAU) Nissan 8hr 00min 51sec
9. Emil Khneisser (LBN)/Alexsei Kuzmich (RUS) Nissan 8hr 01min 15sec
10. Niaf Al-Otaibi (SAU)/Mohammed Al-Seiri (SAU) Nissan 8hr 01min 56sec
10. Munif Al-Salmani (SAU)/Ali Mirza (ARE) Nissan 8hr 03min 11sec

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For further media information:
English: Neil Perkins, 2015 Ha’il Nissan International Rally, International Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases). Twitter: @LordPerkins

Arabic: Firas Nimri, 2015 Ha’il Nissan International Rally, National Press Officer, Mobile: + 962 777 282000, E-mail: nimrifiras@yahoo.com. 

Date issued: 21/03/2015

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