Qatari Yamaha driver Ahmed Al Kuwari had an impressive performance in the 2023 Qatar International Baja. Despite facing some technical issues and navigation challenges, as well as the health problems of his Italian co-driver Manuel Lucchese, he won his home race in the T4 category of the FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas. In the overall classification of the series, he finished second, while being the fourth-best T4 and 15th overall in the World Cup classification.
The 2023 Qatar International Baja was special for Ahmed Al Kuwari not only because it is his home event but also because this was the first time he was competing in his own Yamaha, prepared by Italy's Quaddy Racing team.
In the prologue section, Al Kuwari finished in fourth place, only eight seconds behind the winner. Though he lost a few seconds here and there, he remained optimistic for the rest of the race.
The crew encountered some technical issues with the co-driver's Stella in the two specials the next day, but they were able to continue with Al Kuwari driving on his co-driver's notes. He decided to take a cautious approach to avoid getting lost, but was overall pleased with the stage.
Saturday's final special stage proved to be a successful finish for Al Kuwari, as he completed all stages unlike the previous year when he had to cut the race short. He attributed his success to his new Yamaha, built with assistance from Quaddy Racing under the supervision of Angelo Montico, and the perseverance of his co-driver, Manuel Lucchese, who was not feeling well throughout the race.
In the end, Al Kuwari finished fourth in the T4 category and 15th overall in the ranking, making him the best T4 and runner-up overall in the Middle East Cup.
“We have arrived at the final podium of Qatar International Baja 2023. It was a nice race this year, we did all the stages unlike last year when we had to cut the race short. There are a lot of competitors and a very competitive field. I enjoyed it a lot this year, probably more than any other year because I was racing with my own personal car which was built with assistance from Quaddy Racing, Mr Angelo Montico. I have to thank my co-driver, Manuel Lucchese, who has not been feeling well the whole weekend and yet he persevered and fought with the sickness and I’m more than happy and more than proud of his performance, it was amazing from him. The result is fourth in T4 and 15th in the overall ranking, best T4 in the Middle East Cup. That makes me happy. And second overall in the Middle East Cup. So, these are quite nice results and maybe we continue the Middle East Cup, who knows,”
Ahmed Al Kuwari said at the finish.
Text: Rita Kónya
Interview: Sveta Amelichkina
Photos: Rally Zone