CC Al-Thefiri, Al-Mouri and Fournier seal second, third and fourth in T4 at Sharqiyah International Baja
Sharqiyah International Baja – March 4-6, 2021
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round 3
For immediate release
Saturday, March 6th, 2021
SOUTH RACING CAN-AM TEAM’S AL-THEFIRI, AL-MOURI AND FOURNIER SEAL SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH PLACES IN T4 AT SHARQIYAH BAJA
· UAE-based Thomas Bell sidelined on long stage after getting stuck in treacherous mud
DAMMAM (SAUDI ARABIA): South Racing Can-Am Team’s Meshari Al-Thefiri, Saeed Al-Mouri and Claude Fournier finished second, third and fourth in the FIA T4 category at a weather-modified Sharqiyah International Baja in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. The result boosted Al-Thefiri’s and Fournier’s chances of winning this year’s FIA T4 Baja Drivers’ Championship title.
Fournier’s fourth place in a Can-Am Maverick X3 means the Frenchman stays out in front of his rivals in the points’ standings, while Al-Thefiri is locked in an early season duel with Saudi Arabia’s Saleh Al-Saif, the winner of the category on this third round of the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas in a South Racing-built Can-Am.
Saudi Arabian motor sporting all-rounder Saeed Al-Mouri tackled the Dakar Rally with South Racing and finished 22nd overall in the T4 section with Uruguayan navigator Sergio Lafuente. The pair joined forces again to tackle the Sharqiyah event and were classified fourth through the longer stage on the final day after taking a similar finish on the Qualifying stage.
They actually stopped at the scene of the accident involving top seed Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Baja officials later reimbursed 54min 20sec of Al-Mouri’s time as a result. A storming run through the final kilometres moved the Saudi up to second in the FIA T4 category, but a five-minute time penalty dropped him back to third.
Al-Thefiri teamed up with Qatar’s Nasser Al-Kuwari on this occasion and the duo were rewarded with the second fastest time in the opening Qualifying Stage of 10km that was held in the Half Moon Bay area. They were classified third in the first of Saturday’s two stages and overhauled Fournier on the second test to secure additional vital points.
Fournier arrived in the Eastern Province as the clear early leader in the FIA T4 Championship after his victory in Russia and third place in Dubai last month. He and Polish co-driver Szymon Gospodarczyk started cautiously with the fifth quickest time in the Qualifying Stage and a fourth-placed finish boosted their title challenge.
Dubai-based Thomas Bell recruited the services of Spaniard Armand Monleón to tackle the event in a South Racing Can-Am. Bell is the CEO of South Racing’s UAE partner Sabertooth Motoring Adventure. The duo were classified third after the super special but got stuck in a very muddy low lying tidal section of terrain near the end of the first of Saturday’s two stages after holding second overall in T4 behind Al-Saif. They were forced to retire.
Strong winds and shifting sand reduced visibility to critical levels before the start of Friday’s planned selective section and the safety helicopter was not able to fly. Baja officials duly cancelled the day’s action for motorcycle and quads and the decision was repeated for the cars when there was no let up in the bad weather in the afternoon.
Race officials decided that FIA entrants would tackle the cancelled desert section on the final day and then repeat the first 138km to PC2 to ensure that enough competitive distance was included to make the event eligible for FIA championship points.
South Racing Can-Am Team’s Scott Abraham said: “This was definitely a difficult race with a lot of challenges. Everybody was looking forward to racing on day one but it was not possible because of the weather conditions. We had an early stage start this morning and the crews tackled a technical route.
“Unfortunately there were several accidents along the way and that marred the day for everyone. It was a valuable event for our team with our drivers picking up valuable points towards the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas with second, third and fourth places and a South Racing-built Can-Am also winning the event.
“It was good to see a strong performance from Saeed Al-Mouri. He has definitely grown from his Dakar debut and we are looking forward to his future plans. There were solid points-scoring runs for Meshari and Claude. Now the trucks will load up and move off to Aqaba in Jordan over the next week and we are forward to the Jordan Baja, starting on the 16th of March.”
Support for the South Racing Can-Am Team came from Method Wheels, Tensor Tires, Motul, Bell, Lazer and OMP.
2021 Sharqiyah International Baja – FIA T4 result:
1. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/Oriol Vidal (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3 4hr 27min 37sec
2. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 4hr 59min 58sec
3. Saeed Al-Mouri (SAU)/Sergio Lafuente (URU) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 5hr 02min 37sec
4. Claude Fournier (FRA)/Szymon Gospodarczyk (POL) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 5hr 06min 17sec
For further information: contact Scott Abraham, South Racing, Email: Scott.Abraham@southracing.com, Tel: + 49 172 6662880.
Facebook group: South Racing Can-Am