Qatar’s Adel Abdulla has not found the going easy over the first three days of Rally Kazakhstan, round five of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. He currently holds fourth place in the T2 category.
Driving a rented Toyota Land Cruiser in a bid to close the 56-point gap on series leader Ahmed Al-Shegawi in the six-day event through the western Kazakh deserts, Adel and fellow Qatari navigator Nasser Al-Kuwari were classified in third place through the opening 280km special that was won by local driver Kirill Chernenkov from Russian rival Konstantin Ivanov. Kazakh Marat Abykayev was fourth.
Chernenkov extended his lead over Ivanov to 9min 15sec in the second and longest selective section of the entire event, but Abykayev and Adel Abdulla lost over one and a half hours and 2hrs 45min respectively. The Qatar slipped to fourth position and trailed the leader by 2hrs 45min 19sec.
“We had a small accident and broke the front screen in the dunes and it was not easy to cross because I could not see clearly. In the last 50km, I had a mechanical problem, so I decided to slow down to the finish.”
With the car repaired for the start of Wednesday’s third timed section of 327.47km, Adel needed to try and make in-roads into Abykayev’s third place.
The Qatari was rewarded with the fastest time on the day’s special, although Chernenkov was able to increase his outright lead over Ivanov to 15min 12sec. Time penalties of 1hr 45min further hampered Adel Abdulla’s chances of regaining third position and he held fourth position at the Kenderly bivouac.
Adel Abdulla’s campaign to win back the FIA T2 Championship comes with valuable support from the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), Ooredoo Qatar and Nissan Qatar.
Tomorrow (Thursday) crews tackle a stage of 398.57km between Kenderly and Aktau City before returning to rally headquarters adjacent to the Caspian Sea. The last two stages of 298.04km and 148.52km head north out of the city, with the last one passing along the shoreline of the Caspian Sea before the ceremonial finish on June 2.
2018 Rally Kazakhstan – T2 positions after SS3 (unofficial):
1. Kirill Chernenkov (KAZ)/Alekey Mun (KAZ) Nissan Patrol 13hrs 39min 03sec
2. Konstantin Ivanov (RUS)/Alexandr Gorkov (RUS) Toyota Land Cruiser 13hrs 54min 15sec
3. Marat Abykayev (KAZ)/Nursultan Abykayev (KAZ) Toyota Land Cruiser 15hrs 39min 08sec
4. Adel Abdulla (QAT)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) Toyota Land Cruiser 17hrs 22min 21sec
Source official press release