CC Saudi's Yazeed Al-Rajhi storms into big lead in Ha'il Nissan Rally
HA’IL NISSAN INTERNATIONAL RALLY – March 9-14, 2016
For immediate release
Saturday, March 12th, 2016
SAUDI’S YAZEED AL-RAJHI STORMS INTO BIG LEAD IN HA’IL NISSAN RALLY
· Nissan’s Khalid Al-Fraihi holds second; Al-Thani delayed; Seaidan rolls his Toyota
· Ahmed Al-Nasser and Abdul-Majed Al-Khulaifi lead motorcycle and quad sections
HA’IL (Saudi Arabia): Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi and German navigator Timo Gottschalk extended their overall lead in the Ha’il Nissan International Rally from 9min 43sec to a massive 37min 17sec after the second selective section around Baqa’a on Saturday.
The Hummer driver was in scintillating form and crushed the opposition with a time of 2hr 42min 12sec to finish the day’s timed section 26min 47sec in front of runner-up Rajah-Farhan Al-Shammeri.
Khalid Al-Fraihi, driving the first of a fleet of Nissans in the top 10, finished the special in third and holds second overall. T2 leader Rajah-Fahan Al-Shammeri is third and Saad Salman and Ahmed Al-Gashimi round off the unofficial top five.
“I am very happy with the stage and was able to extend my lead today,” said Al-Rajhi. “I was able to win the stage for the third day, but it was not easy and there were tricky places where I was cautious to avoid making a mistake.”
Ahmed Al-Shegawi’s delight at winning the opening leg had been short lived when the Saudi incurred a time penalty for a route infringement and dropped from second overall to 32nd at the start of Saturday’s stage. The decision promoted Al-Fraihi to second overall and Qatar’s Sheikh Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani into the top 10 at the start of the day.
Crews tackled a much longer selective section on Saturday that looped for 216.40km along a route around Baqa’a. Al-Rajhi was the first on the road in his Hummer and began to storm clear of his rivals. He reached the first of the major checkpoints three minutes ahead of Shegawi, 6min 02sec in front of runaway T3 leader Khaled Al-Jaflah and 9min 24sec ahead of Ahmad Al-Gashami.
Yasir-Hamad Seaidan had started in 16th place and was running fifth in his Toyota with French navigator Sébastien Delaunay. He climbed to second at the last passage control before rolling out of contention.
Technical issues sidelined Farhan Al-Shammeri and Sami Al-Shammeri early in the stage and Butti Banjr Al-Qahtani’s car caught fire after a fuel leak. Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani stopped for a long time with mechanical issues before the halfway point after running second fastest behind Al-Rajhi at the first checkpoint.
Al-Jaflah was running inside the top five and comfortably leading the T3 category until he suffered its own fair share of technical issues and retired. UAE T3 rival Atif Al-Zarouni also retired and this opened the door for Rakan-Yousef Al-Salloum to head the T3 section in his Polaris into the second half of the day’s stage.
After injuring his back over a heavy jump in Muteb-Saud Al-Shammeri’s Nissan on Friday, Emirati co-driver Ali Mirza was detained in hospital overnight with back injuries, but was given the all clear to leave on Saturday afternoon.
Riding a Kawasaki, Abdul-Majeed Al-Khulaifi held a lead of just three seconds over Ahmed Al-Nasser after the opening leg in the quad and motorcycle category. The former winner maintained his advantage in the quad section after the second leg and held an unofficial lead of 6min 15sec over Heshayan Al-Heshayan’s Yamaha, but Al-Nasser was quicker and the solitary motorcycle rider headed the overall category by 3min 16sec.
Saudi rider Sultan Al-Masood crashed his Yamaha heavily and was airlifted to Baka hospital and then on to King Khalid hospital, where he remains stable with bruising. Mohammed Al-Darwish suffered technical issues near the end of the special and retired.
The rally is being staged under the patronage of 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. The SAMF runs under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness Prince Sultan Bin Bandar Al-Faisal and the event is being organised in conjunction with the High Authority for the Development of Ha’il.
There is no respite for competitors on Sunday. The penultimate third selective section of this year’s Ha’il Nissan International Rally starts at 09.05hrs and runs for 206.4km between a start 61km from the overnight halt at the town of Shot and a finish in Jubbah.
Ha'il Nissan International Rally – leading positions after Leg 2 (unofficial @ 14.50hrs):
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Hummer 4hr 14min 07sec
2. Khalid Al-Fraihi (SAU)/Ali Obaid (ARE) Nissan 4hr 51min 24sec
3. Rajah Farhan Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Mubarak Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan 4hr 52min 30sec
4. Saad Salman (SAU)/Nawaf Al-Anzi (SAU) Toyota 4hr 52min 53sec
5. Ahmed Al-Gashami (SAU)/Waleed Al-Fiuam (SAU) Nissan 4hr 55min 59sec
6. Faris Al-Mashna (SAU)/Saud Al-Zayed (SAU) Nissan 4hr 58min 03sec
7. Meshaal Al-Saeedi (SAU)/Bandar Al-Saeedi (SAU) Nissan 5hr 00min 20sec
8. Ahmed Abdullah Al-Shehail (SAU)/Rasheed Mslet (SAU) Nissan 5hr 00min 47sec
9. Emil Khneisser (LEB)/Alexei Kuzmich (RUS) Nissan 5hr 05min 42sec
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For further media information:
English: Neil Perkins, 2016 Ha’il Nissan International Rally, International Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases). Twitter: @LordPerkins
Arabic: Firas Nimri, 2016 Ha’il Nissan International Rally, National Press Officer, Mobile: + 962 777 282000, E-mail: email@example.com.