CC Emil Khneisser faces fight back through T2 field in Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 2
Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, April 2-7
For immediate release
Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
NISSAN’S KHNEISSER FACES FIGHTBACK INTO T2 CONTENTION OVER REMAINING TWO DAYS OF ABU DHABI DESERT CHALLENGE
· Qatar’s Adel Hussein Abdullah snatches outright T2 lead in Nissan Patrol
· Frenchman Joseph Rosso claims fastest T2 stage time in his Nissan
ABU DHABI (UAE): Abu Dhabi-based Lebanese driver Emil Khneisser will need to fight his way back into contention over the remaining two days of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge after he was forced to stop for 29 minutes with a minor technical problem on the third selective section that looped for 280.06km through the western extremities of the deserts of Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The Nissan Patrol Y62 driver and Russian navigator Alexei Kuzmich began the day 28th on the road, second in the T2 section and immediately behind main T2 rivals Adel Hussein and Yasir Saeidan in the running order at the start of the stage, near Tharwaniya.
Running with support from Nissan Middle East and Al-Masaood Automobiles, Khneisser began well before the delay and eventually reached the stage finish in a time of 6hr 39min 56sec. The minor hitch cost him over one and a half hours and he now holds an unofficial fourth in the T2 standings and 24th overall.
“It was disappointing to have the minor issue today, but much better yesterday than the first day,” said Khneisser. “On the first day. the car went into safe mode and I had no power and could only rev the engine to 3000 (rpm). On Monday I could go to 4000, so I was able to push slightly better.
“Still, Yasir managed to extend his lead over me. I felt that the car would be perfect today. On the Desert Challenge, several minutes’ lead is nothing. I feel at home. I feel confident. If no minor problems, I can continue to push and improve over the last two days.”
Saudi’s Yasir Saeidan began the day at the head of the T2 field, but he was delayed in the dunes for over an hour and a half and that enabled Qatar’s Adel Hussein Abdullah to snatch the outright T2 advantage in his Nissan Patrol. The former quad rider and regular MERC navigator clocked a time of 5hr 28min 34sec in the punishing heat to take an unofficial T2 lead of 30min 02sec into day four.
Joseph Rosso was in good form at the helm of his T2 Nissan Patrol and the Frenchman and navigator Guy Leneveu claimed the fastest time in the Series-Production category. A six-minute time penalty imposed earlier in the race has hampered his chance of outright success and he now holds third place.
Several drivers are entered in Nissan Patrols in the T1 category and Saudi Arabia’s Khalid Al-Feraihi enjoyed a good stage with his Omani navigator Abdulhaleem Al-Busaidi. The Patrol driver clocked the 16th quickest time and holds 15th in the general classification. Emirati Matar Al-Mansoori reached the finish 10 minutes behind the Saudi in his T1 Nissan Patrol and slotted into 16th overall.
Teams tackle the penultimate 257.87km desert selective selection through Al Garbia on Wednesday before the event reaches a conclusion at the Yas Marina circuit on Thursday, April 7th.
2016 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – FIA T2 positions after SS3 (unofficial @ 15.40hrs):
1. Adel Hussein Abdullah (QAT)/Hakam Mohamed Rabeia (EGY) Nissan Patrol 16hr 20min 15sec
2. Yasir Saeidan (SAU)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Toyota Land Cruiser 16hr 50min 17sec
3. Joseph Rosso (FRA)/Guy Leneveu (FRA) Nissan Patrol 16hr 59min 15sec
4. Emil Khneisser (LEB)/Alexsei Kuzmich (RUS) Nissan Patrol Y62 17hr 13min 09sec
5. Jaralla Jahman (QAT)/Fares Allouh (JOR) Toyota Prado 17hr 39min 26sec