Qatar International Baja 2023: Al-Attiyah and Dabrowski fastest on prologue stage

Qatar International Baja 2023: Al-Attiyah and Dabrowski fastest on prologue stage

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First blood in the FIA T3 and T4 sections for Kuwait’s Al-Thefiri and Brazil’s De Sousa

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Konrad Dabrowski recorded the fastest times in the car and motorcycle classes on the opening 9.08km Prologue stage of the Qatar International Baja on Thursday afternoon.
The customary short opening timed section has been introduced to determine the starting order for the longer second part of the stage through the Qatari deserts on Friday morning and preceded the ceremonial start on Lusail Boulevard on Thursday evening.
Forty-four cars (seven T1+, three T1, three T2, 18 T3 and 13 T4), 47 motorcycles and five quads passed scrutineering checks and were permitted to start the Prologue stage. Santiago Navarro and Henry Kahy were non-starters in the T3 category for lightweight prototype machines. There were also nine cars running in a National event behind the main Baja.
Al-Attiyah and his regular co-driver Mathieu Baumel carded a time of 5min 49.5sec in their Toyota Hilux and lead the car section by 4.8 seconds from the Polish duo of Krzysztof Holowczyc and Lukasz Kurzeja in their Mini JCW Rally Plus. Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov are third in an Overdrive Racing Toyota.
Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri edged out the South Racing Can-Am Team’s Otavio Sousa for the early lead in T3 in his new MCE-5 T3M. Brazil’s Cristiano de Sousa Batista continued his excellent run of form to top the T4 standings from young Pau Navarro in his FN Speed Team Can-Am.
A time of 6min 20.9sec enabled the defending champion Konrad Dabrowski to claim the early advantage in the motorcycles on a stage where the times are multiplied by a coefficient of eight to ensure tactics and positional musical chairs are discouraged. The Pole has recovered well from a recent appendicitis operation and is targeting a repeat win this season. The KTM rider also topped the Junior category.
Great Britain’s Robert Wallace and Italy’s Paulo Lucci came home in second and third, with Italian rider Cesare Zacchetti (KTM) leading the Veterans in 12th and Mirjam Pol topping the Women’s section in 13th.
Emirati Abdulaziz Al-Ahli drew first blood in the quad category to lead from Saudi Arabia’s Haitham Al-Tuwaijri and Mansoor Al-Suwaidi.

Saudi Arabia’s Mishal Al-Ghuneim is one of the more experienced of the motorcycle riders. He finished 14th on the Prologue and said: “I feel good after my ankle injury and have got a couple of riders with me, Andrew (Houlihan) from Australia and Luca from Italy. Luca is a rookie but Andrew is fighting for the Veterans’ Championship. Hopefully we all have a good race.”

Friday

The second part of leg one runs through the Qatar deserts for 233.87km and is split into three sections of 46.05km, 70.53km and 117.29km on Friday morning by non-competitive transfer zones. The first motorcycle will be live on stage at 07.35hrs.

Cars will tackle the longer section of 117.29km first and then the two shorter stages with the first vehicle on stage from 08.45hrs.

2023 Qatar International Baja – Prologue result (unofficial):

FIA - Cars (Top 15 only)
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (AND) Toyota GR DKR Hilux 5min 49.5sec*
2. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Lukasz Kurzeja (POL) Mini JCW Rally Plus 5min 54.3sec*
3. Denis Krotov (KGZ)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (ISR) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 6min 02.4sec*
4. Guoyu Zhang (CHN)/Oriol Mena (ESP) Baic ORC BJ40 6min 09.8sec*
5. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)/Oriol Vidal (ESP) MCE-5 T3M (T3) 6min 11.0sec*
6. Otavio Sousa (BRA)/João Ferreira (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 6min 12.3sec*
7. Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT)/François Cazalet (FRA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 6min 17.1sec+
8. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Alexei Kuzmich (ARE) Can-Am Maverick X3 T3) 6min 19.4sec+
9. Ahmed Al-Mohannadi (QAT)/Mubarak Al-Khelaifi (QAT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 6min 20.8sec+
10. Juan Cruz Yacopini (ARG)/Daniel Oliveras (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 6min 23.5sec*

T1 unless stated
*denotes registered for FIA World Cup
+ denotes registered for FIA Middle East Cup

FIM – Bikes (top 15 only)
1. Konrad Dabrowski (POL) KTM 450 Rally 6min 20.9sec
2. Robert Wallace (GBR) KTM 450 RFR 6min 52.7sec
3. Paulo Lucci (ITA) KTM 450 EXC-F 6min 54.0sec
4. Jonathan Finn (CAN) Honda CRF 450 RL 7min 05.5sec
5. Michael Anderson (ZAF) KTM 450 EXC 7min 05.6sec
6. Alex McInnes (GBR) Husqvarna FE450 7min 09.0sec
7. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 Rally Replica 7min 09.2sec
8. Abdullah Lanjawi (ARE) Husqvarna FE450 7min 09.8sec
9. Simon Marcic (SVN) Husqvarna 450 Rally Replica 7min 12.6sec
10. Martin Chalmers (AUS) Beta 430 RR 7min 23.7sec

FIM – Quads
1. Abdulaziz Al-Ahli (ARE) Yamaha Raptor 700 6min 54.8sec
2. Haitham Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 7min 05.5sec
3. Mansoor Al-Suwaidi (ARE) Yamaha YFZ 450R 7min 21.1sec
4. Arnoud Dom (BEL) Suzuki LTR 450 7min 35.3sec
5. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 7min 57.3sec

 

Source Qatar International Baja / QMMF

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