Seaidan retains lead as Rajhi wins stage 2 at Al Ula Rally - GulfToday

Seaidan retains lead as Rajhi wins stage 2 at Al Ula Rally

Seaidan retains lead as Rajhi wins stage 2 at Al Ula Rally

Yazeed Al-Rajhi on the way to the stage win on Thursday.

Yasir Seaidan maintained his outright lead in the Al Ula-Neom Cross-Country Rally, but saw his advantage trimmed to 2min 52sec by fellow Saudi Arabian rival Yazeed Al Rajhi on the second 212km loop stage through the deserts around Al Ula on Thursday.

Seaidan had guided his MINI All4 Racing to a lead of 5min 45sec at the start the second day of the third round of the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship, but Rajhi  carded the fastest time of 1hr 39min 40sec in his Toyota Hilux and Seaidan came in third behind Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi.

“The stage today was the same as yesterday,” said Rajhi .

“I pushed hard and I am happy with my time. After 130km, I slowed down because of the dust from the car in front. I was in the dust for the last 70km.

“Hopefully I can continue like this with this pace on Friday.” Despite finishing as the stage runner-up, Qassimi slipped a place to third in the overall rankings in his Peugeot 2008, but closed the gap on the leader to 4min 42sec.

The Emirati said: “Today was quite fast and tricky. We don’t really have as good a top speed as the other cars.

“It is a Buggy at the end of the day. It is not easy and we took some risks to be on the pace with the other cars.”

The new Spanish pairing of Formula One star Fernando Alonso and Marc Coma continued their learning curve with fourth place for the second day in the second of the Toyota Hiluxes, Alonso staying clear of trouble to post a time of 1hr 47min 15sec that leaves him 11min 46sec off the lead.

He said: “It was the same as yesterday, but I pushed more and was a bit faster because I have more knowledge of the stage.

“I am happy with my stage, especially with the first part, where we were eight seconds behind Yazeed.

“I got a puncture today but I had more confidence than yesterday. Friday’s stage will be new for everyone and this is the learning curve for me.”

Czech Miroslav Zapletal displaced Essa Al Dossary and climbed to fifth overall in his Ford F-150 Evo after beating his Nissan rival by 83 seconds on the day’s special.

The best of the rest was Saudi Arabia’s Khalid Al Feraihi at the helm of his Nissan Patrol and the Saudi climbed to seventh in the rankings with French navigator Stéphane Duplé.

Ahmed Al Shegawi lost over 40 minutes and plummeted from seventh to 21st overall after his car rolled near the finish and he needed outside assistance to complete the day’s selective section.

The Saudi trio of Mutair Al Shammeri, Mohammed Al Tijiwri and new TL2 category leader Salman Al Shammeri rounded off the top 10 on the event being organised by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al Faisal and supervision of former FIA Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab.

Salman Al Shammeri now leads the showroom TL2 category by 2min 11sec from Sallal Al Dossari.

Saleh Al Saif climbed a position to 14th in the overall standings and maintained his lead in the T3 section in a Can-Am. Race officials also ran an NUTV class for Can-Am, Yamaha and Polaris derivatives and Yousef Al-Dhaif teamed up with French co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter to head the category by 25min 48sec after two stages.

Amongst the retirements were Mohammed Alabdulali from the NUTV section and Hummer drive Saleh Al-Abdulali, while Ibrahim Al-Muhanna did not start the stage in the T4 truck category.

Related articles