CC Nissan's Khneisser makes superb start to bid for T2 glory in Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 2
Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, April 2-7
For immediate release
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
NISSAN’S KHNEISSER MAKES SUPERB START TO BID FOR
T2 GLORY IN ABU DHABI DESERT CHALLENGE
· Lebanese Nissan Patrol Y62 finishes opening desert stage in 4hr 51min 57sec
ABU DHABI (UAE): Abu Dhabi-based Lebanese driver Emil Khneisser got his campaign for honours in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge underway on a gruelling selective section of 278.04km between Razeen and a finish 34km from the overnight bivouac, at the Qasr Al-Sarab Desert Resort in the UAE’s western region of Al-Gharbia, on Sunday.
Running with support from Nissan Middle East and Al-Masaood Automobiles and co-driven by Russian Alexei Kuzmich, Khneisser recorded the unofficial second quickest time in the hard-fought T2 category for Series Production Cross-Country Vehicles at the helm of his Nissan Patrol Y62. He clocked a time of 4hr 51min 57sec.
The Saudi Arabian driver Yasir Seaidan posted a slightly quicker unofficial time of 4hr 46min 58sec to edge into the unofficial T2 lead, but many of Khneisser’s rivals were still making their way to the stage finish.
The result gave the Lebanese an unofficial 17th in the overall rankings on a stage that was won outright by two-time Dakar winner Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah. Emirati Matar Al-Mansoori was the third of the early T2 finishers in his Nissan Patrol.
“This is just the start we needed,” said Khneisser who had finished the opening Prologue stage at the Al-Forsan International Sports Resort in 23rd overall in a time of 2min 07sec, a mere one second behind the experienced local T1 Nissan driver and former event runner-up Yayha Al-Helai.
“There is a long way to go, with a lot of tricky dunes and it was important that we reached the end of the first stage without any problems. The Nissan was superb today and Alexei did a fantastic job on the road book.”
The opening selective section was a taster for what lies ahead over the next four days and featured passage control checkpoints after 87.14km, 160.26km and 235.26km.
Title-sponsoring Nissan has an impressive record on the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and Khneisser’s rivals also featured well on the first of the selective sections. Twelve of the 54 starters (22.2% of the entry) in the car category are driving various derivatives of the Nissan Patrol or Nissan Pick-Up.
The event finishes at Yas Marina on Thursday, April 7th after a further four selective sections through the remote western deserts of the Abu Dhabi emirate this week.