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CC Al Attiyah takes crushing win in Qatar Baja

2004 Mitsubishi Motors Qatar Baja
November 25th-27th, 2004

For immediate release
Saturday, November 27th, 2004

QATAR'S NASSER SALEH AL-ATTIYAH TAKES
EMPHATIC VICTORY IN NEW QATAR BAJA

UAE's Trenker beats Italy's Polli to take bike win;
Qatar's Al-Shamein triumphant in quads' category

DOHA (Qatar): Home favourite Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Didier Le Gal took an emphatic victory in the car category of the Mitsubishi Motors Qatar Baja, which finished in Doha today (Saturday). The UAE's Tim Trenker and Italy's Oscar Polli were the class of the international motorcycle field and it was Trenker who emerged victorious at the finish. Qatar's Abdullah Al-Shamein won the 14-strong quad category.

Defending FIA Middle East rally champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah had set the fastest time in Friday's Prologue stage and he led the entire field into the selective shortly after dawn on Saturday. His Chevrolet Pro-Truck was in a class of its own and the Qatari powered off into the distance, as Mitsubishi's Joan Roma and Germany's Sven Knorr struggled to find the designated track at the first passage control point and slipped behind.

As the day progressed and numerous competitors struggled with navigation and mechanical problems, so Al-Attiyah extended his advantage. He was over 39 minutes ahead after the first loop and eventually took victory by the margin of 1h 06m 23s.

~It was a great day and fantastic fun to drive this powerful car in the sand,~ enthused a beaming Al-Attiyah at the finish. ~I had no pressure and was able to push hard from the start. It was good for me to drive in these conditions and now I can really look forward to driving my new BMW on the Dakar Rally and pressing for a top five result.~

Mitsubishi entered Spaniard Joan Roma for pre-Dakar testing and the Spaniard enjoyed his first foray into rallying on four wheels by taking second position in a Pajero. ~It was a good test for the team, as we prepare with Joan for the Dakar,~ said Mitsubishi's Team Manager Dominique Serieys. ~Times were incidental today. We were here to familiarise Joan with the car.~ The Mitsubishi team planned to remain in Qatar for a couple of days after the Baja to give Roma even more experience behind the wheel in a desert environment.

Qatar's Khalifa Al-Attiyah and Jaralla Ali jostled for the final podium place, with Ali's Land Rover well clear of his fellow countryman at the end of the day in an unofficial third position. Qatari Mohammed Al-Mannai held fourth in a Nissan Patrol and Khalifa Al-Attiyah rounded off the top five in his Land Rover.

Dubai-based German rider Tim Trenker and Italian Oscar Polli became embroiled in a fascinating contest for victory in the early stages in the motorcycle category. Trenker led through the early PCs on his KTM and was nearly five minutes ahead of Polli through PC11. Motorcycles were permitted only one lap of the stage and it was a sprint to the finish for Trenker to take the biggest result of his career to follow up fifth place in October's UAE Desert Challenge.

Britain's Kevin Coplestone was running inside the top five at the mid-point before falling out of contention. Polli eventually held on to take a comfortable second overall, Spain's Pau Soler was third, the Italian Giovanni Stefani was fourth and Britons Anthony Murray and Paul Howard completed the top six.

~It was a great race for me,~ enthused Trenker. ~I knew that I had a chance to do well here and I knew that Oscar was going to be the man to beat.~

Quad bikes and competitors in a national category event also completed one loop of the tricky stage. Qatar's Abdullah Al-Shamein fended off the challenge from the UAE's Mohammed Al-Shamsi to take victory in the quad class on his Yamaha 660. Italy's Angelo Montico finished second overall, once Al-Shamsi slipped back into fourth position.

Italian lady Guisy Concina laid to rest the ghost of her accident in the 1993 Qatar Baja Cube by taking victory in the National Rally in a Nissan Patrol.

The dubious distinction of first retirement fell to Roger Coleman, who withdrew his Nissan Patrol from the national category with mechanical problems on the opening road section from Doha to the Sealine Resort. Early withdrawals included Britain's Darren Martin and the UAE quad rider Khalid Khouri.

Additional support for the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation's event came from the Ramada Hotel, Qatar Navigation, Qatar Petroleum, the Qatar National Bank and NK Portakabins.

~We can look ahead now to further develop and progress this event,~ said Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah, the President of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation. ~The objective was to run a safe and compact Baja this year, with a view to developing the event in the future.~

Today's 230 kms timed selective headed from the Sealine Resort on Qatar's east coast towards Zarqa, before turning due west and south-west via Umm Jawlaq, Al-Kharrarah and into the remote Al Jaow Al-Ramli. After skirting the picturesque Inland Sea, it ran in a northerly direction up the east coast to the Sealine finish. The podium finish took place adjacent to the QMMF's headquarters in Doha.

Qatar Baja - results (unofficial):

Cars (top 5)
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Dider Le Gal (F) Chevrolet Pro Truck 5h 07m 26s
2. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero MPR9 6h 13m 49s
3. Jaralla Ali (QA)/Mohammed Al-Marri (QA) Land Rover 7h 05m 12s
4. Mohammed Al-Mannai (QA)/Abil Abdullah (QA) Nissan Patrol 7h 17m 04s
5. Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QA)/Rashid Al-Sulaiti (QA) Land Rover 7h 18m 04s

Bikes (top 6)
1. Tim Trenker (UAE) KTM 3h 03m 34s
2. Oscar Polli (I) KTM 3h 09m 39s
3. Pau Soler (E) KTM 4h 06m 26s
4. Giovanni Stefani (I) KTM 660 4h 17m 18s
5. Anthony Murray (GB) Kawasaki 220 4h 29m 23s
6. Paul Howard (GB) KTM 525 4h 32m 13s

Quads (top 4)
1. Abdullah Al-Shamein (QA) Yamaha 660 3h 46m 55s
2. Angelo Montico (I) Polaris Predator 4h 11m 41s
3. Abdulrahman Al-Hajri (QA) Yamaha Raptor 650 4h 21m 15s
4. Mohammed Al-Shamsi (UAE) Honda 450 5h 32m 47s

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, 2004 Qatar Baja Press Officer, Bukka Room, Ramada Hotel, Doha, Qatar, Tel: + 974 4417155, Fax: + 974 4417158, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)
and
Hassan Oudeh, Arabic Press Officer, Tel: Qatar mobile + 974 5309872, Fax: + 974 4379761, E-mail: ha_oudeh@hotmail.com


Date issued: 27/11/2004

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
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