CC Nissan's Adel Hussein Abdulla ends FIA T2 campaign with stunning win in Portugal
30th Baja Portalegre 500
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 9
October 27-29, 2016
For immediate release
Saturday, October 29th, 2016
NISSAN’S ADEL HUSSEIN ABDULLA ENDS FIA T2 CAMPAIGN
WITH VICTORY AT PORTUGAL’S BAJA PORTALEGRE 500
· FIA T2 title outcome now in hands of FIA after team’s Moroccan protest
PORTALEGRE (PORTUGAL): Nissan’s Adel Hussein Abdulla wrapped up his maiden FIA World Cup campaign in the T2 category for Series Production Cross-Country vehicles by claiming a stunning victory from Italy’s Alessandro Trivini Bellini at the 30th Baja Portalegre 500 on Saturday afternoon.
Running with support from Nissan Middle East, Nissan Qatar and the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), the Qatari produced one of his best performances of the season against one of the largest T2 fields of the year to reach the finish on the top of the podium in his Nissan Patrol.
Partnered by French navigator Sébastien Delaunay, the Doha-based driver held third after the opening super special stage and then hit the front only to be pegged back by local driver César Sequeira, until the latter was penalised and then retired soon afterwards. Bellini then snatched the lead and fought a fascinating tussle with Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Saleh and Adel Hussein for the win over the closing kilometres.
The outcome of the FIA T2 title will now be decided by the sport’s governing body, the FIA, after Adel Hussein’s TOK Sport team protested the legality of his main rival’s car at the recent round of the series in Morocco.
“Everything now depends upon the outcome of the protest we have made against our rival’s car after Morocco,” said Adel Hussein. “All the odds were against me here in Portugal. It was a very tough event with a lot of cars, bikes and quads and that makes the terrain very difficult. I drove beyond my ability, perhaps, and was clever. I kept my foot on the ground and was focusing on my event.
“I forget what happened in Morocco and I kept pushing and pushing. Now we wait for the outcome of the FIA protest with the technical scrutineers. This will tell us if Yasir’s (Saeidan) car is legal. If he is disqualified, it means that I will be FIA T2 champion this season. Even if I don’t win, to finish second and win a couple of events is a great achievement for a rookie on his first time in the championship.
“I would like to thank Nissan Middle East, Nissan Qatar and the QMMF for their support from the beginning of the season until now. I have learned a lot of things and look forward to next season.”
Adel Hussein had followed up with his third quickest time in Friday morning’s super special stage with the fastest time and the outright T2 category lead after the second section of 83.94km. The Nissan Patrol driver was in fine form and reached the night halt with a lead of 1min 26sec over César Sequeira.
Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Saleh held third place, but Adel Hussein’s main title rival Yasir Saeidan rolled his car on Friday and began the final day without the front screen in situ. Engine damage eventually sidelined the Saudi on the road section after the first stage on Saturday.
Saturday’s action consisted of two selective sections of 171.47km and 211.94km and Sequeira took up the mantle at the front of the field through the opening checkpoints. Adel Hussein initially trailed Saleh before moving back in front of the Saudi as the third stage progressed. Sequiera won the special to move ahead of Adel Hussein by just 41 seconds heading into the service break, but the Spaniard then incurred a time penalty at the Parc Ferme and Adel Hussein gained the lead.
On the final stage, Sequeira and Adel Hussein were closely matched with the Portuguese leading through the opening kilometres, but the former his trouble soon afterwards and Adel Hussein eased his pace to guide his Nissan Patrol to the finish, although Bellini closed to within 3min 29sec of the Qatari at the finish after taking the lead in the unofficial results for a short time.
2016 Baja Portalegre – T2 final positions after SS4 (unofficial @ 18.00hrs):
1. Adel Hussein Abdulla (QAT)/Sébastian Delaunay (FRA) Nissan Patrol 6hr 59min 02sec
2. Alessandro Bellini (ITA)/Paolo Bellini (ITA) Mitsubishi Pajero 7hr 02min 31sec
3. Alexandre Mota (PRT)/Anibal Mendonça (PRT) Nissan Pick-Up 7hr 06min 49sec
4. Abdullah Saleh (SAU)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) Toyota Land Cruiser 155 7hr 11min 36sec, etc