Officials at the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) have announced further details of the challenging route that competitors will face at the Manateq Qatar Cross-Country Rally (QCCR), the opening round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, on February 21-26, 2019.
The event gets underway with a ceremonial start on the Pearl on February 21st. Timed action fires into life on February 22nd with a short desert stage of 102km and this will define the starting order for the first of the longer selective sections.
The following two days of competition across the length and breadth of the deserts of Qatar will run for 313km and 338km, respectively, with final stage distances subject to forthcoming route checks.
The fourth stage on February 24th will offer almost 350km of timed competition but this will be divided into two stages by a road liaison section of 56km. The FIA recommends that the last timed test is shorter than the rest and the QMMF have duly arranged 270 kilometres of competition to decide the outcome of the rally on February 26th.
In a provisional route of 2,059km, competitors will tackle 1,367km of timed competition. The finishers will then be convoyed to the Pearl for the prize giving ceremony.
Rally officials have also announced a generous prize fund for winners in all categories. The top five in the T1 category will receive generous cash awards, with $10,000 USD for the winner, down to $4,000 USD for fifth place.
The winner of the T2 category for series production cross-country vehicles will receive $8,000 USD - with prize money paid down to fifth place - and the T3 winner will earn $6,000 USD down to a prize of $3,000 USD for third place.
The event has built a reputation as being one of the most demanding in the FIA calendar for both drivers and co-drivers. Last year’s rally was won by Poland’s Jakub Przygonski and his Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul and they went on to win the FIA World Cup for the first time.
The duo are currently competing at the Dakar Rally in Peru, but Przygonski fondly recalls the challenges that he and Colsoul faced in Qatar last April. The Pole said: “It is a tough race with the navigation and a lot can happen. We know there are tough penalties for missing waypoints. You have to be really focused. One small mistake in navigation and you can lose all the time.”
The Losail Sports Arena was used to host rally headquarters and the media centre at November’s Manateq International Rally of Qatar and the facility will play host to the cross-country event for the first time with the bivouac located in the grounds of the stadium.
Regulations are available for download from www.qatarcrosscountry.com and www.qmmf.com.
Entries for rounds of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies must be done online on the FIA website. All competitors must complete the online entry form at https://registrations.fia.com to be eligible to score points in the World Cup and associated competitions.
Source QMMF's official press release