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The Monster Energy Can-Am Team will be hoping to follow up a superb second and third overall at last month’s Dakar Rally by challenging for outright victory in the T3 category at this week’s Manateq Qatar Cross-Country Rally.
The Lusail-based event is the opening round of a revised FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies that features further long-distance rallies in Abu Dhabi, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Morocco. The T3 category has become the most popular of the three FIA car racing categories (T1, T2 and T3) on the back of the success of the Side-by-Side (SxS) section at the Dakar Rally.
The Qatar event is being organised by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and has attracted a provisional 13 entrants in T3. The Monster Energy Can-Am Team heads that field with the Brazilian duo of Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin wheeling out a Can-Am Maverick X3 being run by South Racing.
Varela and Gugelmin followed up a stunning victory in the SxS section at the Dakar Rally in 2018 with third overall and a pair of stage wins during their defence of that SxS title last month. They have both taken part in the Qatar event before (when it was based at Sealine, south of Doha) and are fully aware of the tricky navigation and challenging desert stages that lie in wait on the hidden route laid on by the QMMF.

Scott Abraham of the Monster Energy Can-Am Team, said:
“This is the start of the 2019 season for Reinaldo and Gustavo. After a strong performance on the Dakar, winning several stages, they are looking to kick-of the FIA Cross-Country World Cup challenge with a good start in Qatar.
We have done some development after Dakar and have adapted the cars to the FIA rules from ASO Dakar rules. That has entailed the introduction of a restrictor of 25mm. This has created its own technical challenges, but I think we are well prepared for a good result at this race.”

After attending a pre-event press conference at Souq Al-Medina on the iconic Pearl-Qatar, Varela and Gugelmin will get their Manateq Qatar Cross-Country Rally challenge underway with the first of five desert stages of around 102km on February 22.
They will then tackle four selective sections across much of the desert terrain of the State of Qatar on February 23-26 with timed sections of 313km, 338km, 350km and 270km planned – totalling 1,367km - for the remaining four days before the finish on the Pearl-Qatar.
The switch to a date in February for the first time, as opposed to the customary slot in the calendar at the end of April, means that outside temperatures are around 10 or 15°C cooler with crews set to race in temperatures of around 22-25°C.

Source South Racing's official press release

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