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Rally-Raid Network - MIDDLE EAST

Yazeed Al Rajhi seals Saudi Toyota Rally Championship title for the second time after winning all its rounds throughout the season

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Yazeed Bin Muhammad Al Rajhi won the second edition of the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship for the second time on Saturday. Al Rajhi managed to finish first on all selective stages of Rally Jeddah.

The fourth and final round of the Saudi Toyota Rally Championship was organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Sport and in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) Motors. The event was held under the patronage of the Governor of Jeddah, His Highness Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi.

Al Rajhi won the Saudi Toyota Championship alongside German navigator Dirk von Zitziwitz, who participated for the first time in the Rally Jeddah. The Toyota Hilux, which is preparing for the fourth Dakar Rally after just ten days, set the fastest times in all three selective sections of the two LEGs. Yazed and Dirk covered a total rally distance of 737 km in the race.

Saudi Champion, Al Rajhi, dominated all of the selective sections aboard his Toyota Hilux accompanied by Dirk von Zitziwitz, the navigator that has ridden with him since the Aseer Rally replaced Michael Orr, who was injured in Baja Poland and is still recovering.

This season, Zitziwitz accompanied Yazeed in the various championships in which Al Rajhi participated, succeeding Michael Orr who is still recovering from his injury in Bahia Poland.

A whole range of challenges faced Al Rajhi and his co-driver throughout the season, but he would like to thank Dirk von Zitziwitz for his outstanding efforts, as well as Abdul Latif Jameel, the distributor for Toyota Motor Corporation products in Saudi Arabia, for his unreserved support at the international and regional rallies.

Al Rajhi expressed his happiness with this achievement and said: “By the grace and praise of God, we were able to snatch the title of the Saudi Toyota Championship for the second time, and this time in Jeddah, which hosted the season finale."

"In fact, we spent three wonderful days and enjoyed the rally and the varied track layout between open tracks, gravel, and dunes, and this is something that makes us proud of the diverse terrain of our country, which has become more famous around the world through the media since hosting the first edition of the famous Dakar Rally in 2020."

"Everything happened beautifully. We won the Saudi Rally Championship and finished the season in the most efficient possible way. I won the Jeddah Rally for the third time in my career and the first time in a Toyota Hilux. We also won all the special stages of all rounds of the Saudi Championship."

Today, I feel very proud of the achievements I am making for my country.

"In the 2019 season, when I competed in the first edition of the Saudi Toyota Championship, I won its title with Michael Orr, and today I won with Dirk von Zitziwitz, and Dirk performed amazingly in this task and the whole season. The victory was ours from day one,"

 

Source Yazeed Racing

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Rally Jeddah 2022: Al-Rajhi, Al-Ali and Al-Tuwaijri win car, bike and quad classes

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Toyota driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi seals Saudi Toyota Rally Championship title

Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Hamdan Al-Ali and Haitham Al-Tuwaijri sealed victories in their respective car, motorcycle and quad categories after the second 131km selective section of Rally Jeddah on Saturday.

The fourth and final round of the Saudi Toyota Rally Championship was organised by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Sport and in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) Motors. The event was held under the patronage of the Governor of Jeddah, His Highness Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi.

The final competitive section started and finished at the historic agricultural governorate of Khulais. Al-Rajhi was able to win for the third day and the Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux Riyadh driver and co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz sealed overall victory over Miroslav Zapletal and Marek Sykora by 27min 30sec.

A fourth straight success, after wins at the Aseer, Qassim and Saudi Baja events, was enough for Al-Rajhi to comfortably secure the Saudi Toyota Rally Championship title.

Al-Rajhi said: “Sure, we are happy. We finish the championship and everything has been good for us this year. Thanks to the organiser for putting on this great championship. It was a different route than last time and we enjoyed it a lot. Dirk and the team did a great job. We are ready now. The target will now be the Dakar. It will not be easy but we have a good car and a good team.”

The Black Horse team’s Saleh Al-Saif and co-driver Egor Okhotnikov rounded off the podium places in their Can-Am Maverick X3 and won the T3 category. Al-Saif said: “First time here in Rally Jeddah and it was a great round-up for the season. We had excellent stages though it was tough. We had a strategy that we followed so we finished the rally in third place and first in the T3 class and, subsequently, we won the T3 title in the championship.”

Saudi Border Guard team driver Khaled Al-Feraihi and French co-driver Sébastien Delaunay finished fourth overall and won the National Championship, while Dania Akeel and her Uruguayan navigator Sergio Lafuente were classified in fifth and second in T3.

Al-Feraihi said: “I won the National Rally title. Unfortunately, we will not participate in the next Dakar. We are still learning and gaining experience. It was a very difficult rally with rocky and wadi sections but we finished without major issues.”

Akeel added: “We had a great time. We had a lot of different tracks, rocks, open flats and mountains and really good practice for Dakar. I gained a lot of experience this season. I am understanding the Can-Am from South Racing more and more.”

Ahmed Al-Shegawi and Alexei Kuzmich were the first of the T2 runners home in sixth place to secure the T2 title. Maha Al-Hameli and Sweden’s Annie Seel held off the late challenge from Saeed Al-Mouri and Jordanian navigator Ata Al-Hmoud to win T4 and finish 12th overall the result enough to earn the Saudi girl the T4 title.

Al-Mouri said: “The rally was good. I was just trying to finish and not trying to push. We took one penalty (15 minutes) yesterday. Today Ata asked me to push and we passed a T3 car and followed the cars in front. We should keep this momentum for next year.”

Ibrahim Al-Muhanna teamed up with Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abu Theeb to win the T5 truck category in their Mercedes.

Husqvarna rider Hamdan Al-Ali kept his cool over the closing kilometres to wrap up the over 450cc motorcycle class win. The Emirati finished the event 12min 52sec in front of Saudi Security Forces Team rider Anass Al-Reheyani, who won the under 450cc category.

Fellow Saudi Mishael Al-Ghuneim rounded off the podium places on his final event before tackling the Dakar in January and was second in the up to 450cc section.

Al-Ali said: “It was an excellent rally but very difficult. I am so happy to finish in the first place.”

Runner-up Al-Reheyani added: “We enjoyed the event though it was my first participation here in Jeddah. We finished the rally in second place and first in the 450cc class. It was not easy. I didn’t expect the rally to be so hard, especially the rocky sections that forced us to ride slowly.”

Haitham Al-Tuwaijri was the only quad rider to escape time penalties and the Yamaha man comfortably won the category on his Yamaha from a distant second-placed Hani Al-Noumesi and Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi in third.

Al-Tuwaijri said: “Excellent day today, but we had some difficult sections in yesterday’s stage, especially at the end. I won the quads title in both the championship and the rally.”

Rally Jeddah – final positions after SS2:
Cars
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Hilux 3hr 15min 12sec
2. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SVK) Ford F-150 Evo 3hr 42min 42sec
3. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/Egor Okhotnikov (FIA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 3hr 56min 36sec
4. Khalid Al-Feraihi (SAU)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Nissan 4hr 04min 44sec
5. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Sergio Lafuente (URY) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 4hr 05min 30sec

Bikes
1. Hamdan Al-Ali (ARE) Husqvarna (over 450cc) 4hr 35min 22sec
2. Anass Al-Reheyani (SAU) KTM 4hr 48min 14sec
3. Mishal Al-Ghuneim (SAU) Husqvarna 4hr 50min 35sec
4. Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera (SAU) KTM 5hr 01min 53sec
5. Ehab Al-Hakeem (SAU) Yamaha 5hr 18min 20sec

Quads
1. Haitham Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Yamaha 5hr 11min 30sec
2. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha 17hr 52min 05sec
3. Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi (SAU) Yamaha 22hr 02min 42sec

Source SAMF

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Rally Jeddah 2022: Yazeed Al-Rajhi extends his advantage with stage win

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Emirati rider Hamdan Al-Ali leads motorcycles; Al-Tuwaijri tops quads

Yazeed Al-Rajhi extended his overall lead over rival Miroslav Zapletal to 17 minutes after dominating the 192km selective section of Rally Jeddah that started in Khulais and finished in Asfan on Friday.
The Saudi now has one hand firmly on the Saudi Toyota Rally Championship title with one day still to run. His Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux never missed a beat and the Riyadh driver and co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz won the stage in a little under two hours.

Al-Rajhi said: “We finished the second day again in first place and we lead the overall standings and the championship. It was a fast stage, flat out but it had more rocks. Tomorrow the stage is shorter and we are looking forward to it.”

Zapletal and Slovakian navigator Marek Sykora remain in a strong second place in a Ford F-150 Evo. The Black Horse team’s Saleh Al-Saif and co-driver Egor Okhotnikov were comfortably the third quickest crew on the day and hold third place and the lead in the T3 category in their Can-Am Maverick.
Saudi Border Guard team driver Khaled Al-Feraihi and French co-driver Sébastien Delaunay moved ahead of Dania Akeel and her Uruguayan navigator Sergio Lafuente to snatch fourth place, but Akeel continues to hold second place in T3 behind Al-Saif.
Maha Al-Hameli and Sweden’s Annie Seel climbed above Saeed Al-Mouri and Jordanian navigator Ata Al-Hmoud in the T4 section after Al-Mouri was handed 15 minutes of time penalties for missing a route waypoint.
Husqvarna rider Hamdan Al-Ali stormed to the stage win in the motorcycle class, the Emirati unofficially stopping the clocks in 2hr 45min 24sec to snatch the lead from Saudi Arabia’s Mishael Al-Ghuneim and Anass Al-Reheyani.
Al-Reheyani and Al-Ghuneim had been awarded four minutes of time penalties before the action resumed on Friday for missing a route waypoint. That had pushed them back from third and sixth to 10h and 11th in the motorcycle section before they climbed back into contention.
Overnight leader Martin Chalmers suffered technical issues and failed to finish the stage, as Saudi Arabian rider Ehad Al-Hakeem moved into contention for a podium finish.
Haitham Al-Tuwaijri continued to lead his great quad rival Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi, his cause helped when Al-Khulaifi also incurred an hour of time penalties for receiving outside assistance. Fellow Yamaha riders, Abdulaziz Al-Atwai and Hani Al-Noumesi, had their own issues and were a distant third and fourth.
The fourth and final round of the Saudi Toyota Rally Championship is being organised by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Sport and in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) Motors.

Saturday
The competition concludes with the second 131km selective section, starting and finishing at the historic agricultural governorate of Khulais in the Mecca Province. The day is made up of SS2A (109km) and SS2B (22km).

Rally Jeddah – positions after SS1B (unofficial @ 16.50hrs):
Cars
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Hilux 1hr 57min 31sec
2. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SVK) Ford F-150 Evo 2hr 14min 31sec
3. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/Egor Okhotnikov (FIA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 2hr 19min 07sec
4. Khalid Al-Feraihi (SAU)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Nissan 2hr 26min 00sec
5. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Sergio Lafuente (URY) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 2hr 33min 05sec

Bikes
1. Hamdan Al-Ali (ARE) Husqvarna 2hr 53min 25sec
2. Mishal Al-Ghuneim (SAU) Husqvarna 3hr 00min 02sec
3. Anass Al-Reheyani (SAU) KTM 3hr 00min 20sec
4. Ehab Al-Hakeem (SAU) Yamaha 3hr 19min 00sec
5. Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera (SAU) KTM 3hr 29min 55sec

Quads
1. Haitham Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Yamaha 3hr 12min 44sec
2. Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi (SAU) Yamaha 4hr 02min 42sec
3. Abdulaziz Al-Atwai (SAU) Yamaha 12hr 30min 00sec
4. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha 15hr 35min 15sec

Source SAMF

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Rally Jeddah 2022: Al-Rajhi, Chalmers and Al-Tuwaijri fastest on opening stage at Rally Jeddah

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Saudi Toyota Rally Championship, round 4 – December 15th-17th, 2022

Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Qatar-based Australian Martin Chalmers and Haitham Al-Tuwaijri earned early leads in the car, motorcycle and quad categories at Rally Jeddah, after the opening 10km super special stage on Thursday afternoon

The fourth and final round of the Saudi Toyota Rally Championship is being organised by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Sport and in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) Motors.

Twenty-five cars, 11 motorcycles and four quads were permitted to the start the three-day event and Al-Rajhi continued his excellent run of form with co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz to beat series rival Miroslav Zapletal by 33 seconds in the car classification.

Saudi drivers, Saleh Al-Saif and Dania Akeel, were locked in their own mini-tussle for third place and the early lead in the T3 category. Al-Saif and co-driver Egor Okhotnikov held a 2.7-second cushion over fellow Can-Am driver Akeel and her Uruguayan navigator Sergio Lafuente.

Abdulaziz Al-Yaeesh and Omar Al-Lahim rounded off the top five, Khalid Al-Feraihi was sixth with French co-driver Sébastien Delaunay and seventh-placed Saeed Al-Mouri led the T4 section in his Can-Am with Jordanian navigator Ata Al-Hmoud.

Ibrahim Al-Muhanna teamed up with Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abu Theeb to hold 23rd and lead the T5 truck category in their Mercedes.

Martin Chalmers, riding a Beta, won the motorcycle stage and edged into a 21-second advantage over Emirati Husqvarna rival Hamdan Al-Ali in the two-wheel category. Local rider Anass Al-Reheyani rounded off the top three.

Mishael Al-Ghuneim is now recovered from the double ankle fracture he sustained at the Sharqiyah Baja last year and is using the event as a shakedown before taking part in the Dakar on a Husqvarna. The Saudi finished the stage in sixth behind fourth-placed Othman Al-Ghfeli and Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera.

Haitham Al-Tuwaijri got the better of Yamaha rivals Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi and Hani Al-Noumesi in the quad category.

Friday:
The first of two longer desert selective sections starts in Khulais and finishes in Asfan and runs for 197km. It is split into two sections of 109km (SS1B) and 88km (SS1C) by a neutralisation zone and refuelling point for motorcycles, quads and T3 and T4 cars.

Rally Jeddah – positions after SS1A (10km):
Cars
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Hilux 5min 34.1sec
2. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SVK) Ford F-150 Evo 6min 07.9sec
3. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/Egor Okhotnikov (FIA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 7min 07.0sec
4. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Sergio Lafuente (URY) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 7min 09.7sec
5. Abdulaziz Al-Yaeesh (SAU)/Omar Al-Lahim (SAU) Nissan 7min 10.9sec
6. Khalid Al-Feraihi (SAU)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Nissan 7min 17.9sec
7. Saeed Al-Mouri (SAU)/Ata Al-Hmoud (JOR) Can-Am Maverick XRS (T4) 7min 37.2sec
8. Abdullah Al-Sanad (SAU)/Abdulatif Al-Sanad (SAU) Nissan 7min 40.0sec
9. Hamed Al-Harbi (SAU)/Alexander Alkseev (FIA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 7min 45.0sec
10. Metab Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Bader Al-Ajmi (KWT) Nissan 7min 51.8sec

 

Source SAMF

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2022 Saudi Toyota Rally Championship reaches its conclusion in Jeddah

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Yazeed Al-Rajhi on course for overall Drivers’ Championship title

The four-round Saudi Toyota Rally Championship reaches its conclusion next weekend (December 15th-17th) with the three-day Rally Jeddah, the event running for the first time since 2016.
Rally Jeddah is being organised by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Sport and in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) Motors.
Twenty-nine cars, 10 motorcycles and three quads grace the provisional entry list for an event where Yazeed Al-Rajhi starts as the clear favourite to win the car event and clinch the Drivers’ Championship title. The Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux driver heads to the start with a comfortable 32-point advantage over Czech rival Miroslav Zapletal, the same opponent he pipped to the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas Drivers’ title in Dubai at the start of this month.
Saudi Border Guard team driver Khalid Al-Feraihi and the Can-Am Maverick duo of Hamed Al-Harbi and Dania Akeel are their closest challengers and will be fighting it out for third place in the championship. Al-Feraihi arrives in the Red Sea city with a seven-point cushion over Al-Harbi and an 18-point lead over Akeel, the latter tackling her final event of the season having finished second in the FIA World Cup’s T3 Championship.
Ahmed Al-Shegawi holds a one-point lead over Mutair Al-Shammeri in the well-supported T2 Championship, which has been dominated by local drivers during the course of the previous three events in Aseer, Qassim and Hail.
Motorcycles and quads will also tackle the season finale and the favourites on two wheels include the local trio of Mishael Al-Ghuneim, Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera and Othman Al-Ghfeli.
The experienced Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi, Haitham Al-Tuwaijri and Hani Al-Noumesi go head-to-head on their Yamahas in the battle for quad success. Al-Khulaifi clinched the FIM Bajas World Cup Quad Championship at the recent Dubai International Baja.
Rally Jeddah ran for the first time in 2014 and was won by Al-Rajhi and French co-driver Alex Winocq in a Hummer Dbug. The Saudi repeated the feat the following season with German navigator Timo Gottschalk, before Qatar’s Adel Hussein Abdullah teamed up with Frenchman Sébastien Delaunay to win the event in a T2 car in 2016.
Al-Khulaifi is a two-time winner in the quad category, having taken the laurels in 2014 and 2015. Motorcycles and quads did not enter in 2016.
After the ceremonial start at the Jeddah Stadium from 13.30hrs on Thursday (December 15th), competitors will tackle a 10km special stage (SS1A) from 14.35hrs.
The first of two longer desert selective sections starts in Khulais and finishes in Asfan on Friday (December 16th) and runs for 197km. It is split into two sections of 109km (SS1B) and 88km (SS1C) by a neutralisation zone and refuelling point for motorcycles, quads and T3 and T4 cars.
The competitive action concludes on Saturday (December 17th) with the second 131km selective section, which starts and finishes at the historic agricultural governorate of Khulais in the Mecca Province and is made up of SS2A (109km) and SS2B (22km).

 

Source SAMF
www.saudi-championship.com

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Dubai International Baja 2022: Saudi Al Rajhi clinches Dubai Baja victory and championship win as Dabrowski bags two bike titles

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Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al Rajhi completed an emphatic second leg in Dubai to secure back-to-back Dubai International Baja wins and two FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas titles in a row.
Meanwhile, Polish rider Konrad Dabrowski took on the dunes of Dubai to come home second in the season finale, after a dramatic conclusion saw him crowned FIM Bajas World Cup champion ahead of favourites Mohammad Al Balooshi for the UAE and Portugal’s Fabio Magalhaes.
As we await official results from the FIA and FIM, the standings at the time of publication are provisional.
Leg 2 of the Dubai International Baja covered a total of 317km, with 196km of a technical Special Stage – the Toyota SS – as organisers Emirates Motorsports Organisation (EMSO) and Official Automotive Partner Al Futtaim-Toyota put on a spectacular season showdown.

“We’re very happy to have brought World Cup rallying back to Dubai,” said Khalid Ben Sulayem, President of the Emirates Motorsports Organization, ahead of the official podium prizegiving. “The event has been a huge success and we are happy to see that the new format and new venue have brough so much excitement to the competition. It brings a lot of pride to see so many championship winners decided here, and it all adds to what has been an thrilling holiday weekend of celebration.”

The Dubai International Baja is perfectly situated to make or break title hopes, and the past two days of action have proved just that. With Strategic Partner Emirates National Oil Company Group (ENOC) keeping the action flowing, the contenders took to the course in search of championship honours.
Partnered by Dirk von Zitzewitz in a Toyota Hilux Overdrive, Yazeed Al-Rajhi recovered from a difficult first leg to win the final round of the 2022 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas.
Returning to the same area between Al Qudra and Lisaili, but running in the opposite direction to Leg 1, Al-Rajhi conquered the new set of challenges presented by the unfamiliar route to retain his championship title.

Yazeed Al Rajhi said: “We enjoyed it so much. Dubai was awesome and now we want to win more. Every win is never enough. We always want more.”

Things were tight at the top of the T3 category as the drivers arrived in Dubai Festival City, and the drama continued in the Dubai International Baja, adding to the excitement of UAE National Day.
A strong showing from Dania Akeel saw the Saudi Arabian lead the way in the Dubai Baja, ahead of championship winner Fernando Alvarez, who secured the title at the Saudi Baja in November.
In the T4 class, it was a front three lock out for the Goczals, with Eryk coming out on top to win the category at the season-ending Dubai Baja. Winning the T4 title is Cristiano Batista, who crucially finished ahead of closest rival UAE’s Mshari Al-Thefiri after the day’s action.
In the bikes category, Tobias Ebster, lying in first overnight, kept a cool head to come through for the win overall at the Dubai International Baja, finishing third on course today.
Coming second in both legs of the Dubai Baja was Konrad Dabrowski. His consistency reaped its reward, as the Pole clinched championship glory with the third podium finish of his 2022 campaign putting him to the top of the FIM Bajas World Cup standings.

“I am pretty happy with that,Dabrowski said after crossing the line. “I ended up leading for most of the race so it was a really good practice ahead of the Dakar, especially on the bigger bike and I am glad I could compete against the other guys. I had to work hard and smart on a demanding race route, but it helped me get ready for Dakar.”

UAE’s Mohammad Al Balooshi demonstrated the resolve that kept him at the top of the championship standings for most of the season, recovering from mechanical issues in Leg 1 to take the win in Leg 2.

Also suffering from mechanical issues in the first leg was Magalhaes, as a gruelling Dubai Baja saw the Portuguese rider unable to compete in the second stage, dropping from second in the championship standings.

“I have mixed emotions,” said Mohammad Al Balooshi. “Yesterday I was a mess in the head [suffering illness]. I won the stage in my section today, but I lost the world title, so it is disappointing. But it’s OK. I was upset but I am over it now. Now we go on to Dakar to represent the UAE and hopefully do my best.”

Dabrowski also came through to take the Junior Bajas World Cup title, with a comfortable championship lead after two wins and two second-place finishes in his dominant performance this season.
On the quads, UAE’s Abdulaziz Ahli has cause for much celebration as he charged to the front on the holiday weekend, winning the Baja ahead of championship winner, Abdalmajeed Al-Khulaifi.
Saudi’s Al-Khulaifi did enough in the season finale to secure the title having built a considerable lead with two wins at the start of his campaign.

Abdalmajeed Al-Khulaifi said: “We finished the last stage of the race with a specific strategy, we got to the last point without putting pressure on our selves, eventually we got to the top and won championship”

FIM WOMEN Bajas World Cup Winner, Mirjam Pol, stormed past the competition in her class, winning today’s stage and the race overall. Adding the Dubai International Baja to her ever-growing list of achievements this year, the Dutch rider topped the 2022 FIM WOMEN Bajas World Cup standings.

Mirjam Pol said: “Yesterday we struggled but today we went in the opposite direction, and this is how it is meant to be. It was flowing. Yesterday I was all on my own but today I had so many fights with the others. I enjoyed it a lot. I am happy to finish it is a very nice end to the season.”

In the Veteran category, 2021 FIM Bajas Trophy winner Pedro Bianchi-Prata finished second in his class today to make it two veteran titles in a row for the Portuguese competitor.  

Pedro Bianchi-Prata said: “It was amazing. It has been very tough, especially on the first day. But this is how it is. They call this a Baja but this is a true desert rally ride. Today was a lot of fun, and I am so happy to win the title. It was so hard as I was fighting riders from the UAE, from the US. It was really tough to fight them but I didn’t give up and I got there in the end.”

Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, the traditional desert race took place in the modern Dubai Festival City on the UAE National Day – setting the stage for a truly exciting event that delivered.

Organised by the EMSO, the rally was supported by the Dubai Government, Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality, RTA, Dubai Customs, ENOC, Aquafina, and Dubai Media.

 

Source EMSO / Dubai International Baja

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Dubai Intenational Baja 2022: Triple crown for Konrad Dabrowski

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FIM Bajas World Cup, round 8

The youngest Dakar finisher in 2021, today, at the age of 21, Konrad Dabrowski won the FIM Junior Rally Raid World Championship and has just added two new and beautiful crowns to his palmares: Winner of the FIM Baja World Cup Bike and Junior.

It is no coincidence that the young Pole is shining high in the sky of Dubai this Saturday. With his head on his shoulders, Konrad is not a mad dog, he calculates his risks and works daily to be not only physically but also mentally fit because the discipline of Rally Raid and Bajas requires concentration, endurance and intelligence. He also understood very quickly that navigation was one of the keys to success.
Based for a large part of the year in Dubai, he trains in the Al Qudra desert, just outside the city, under the watchful eye of his coach, his father Marek Dabrowski - whose reputation is well known in the sport as a three times World Champion in the Motorsport - and his „uncle” Jacek Czachor, Marek's long-time friend and teammate.

After the 2022 Dakar, which he finished in 27th position, Konrad tackled the FIM Rally World Championship season, where he won the Junior title, and the FIM Baja World Cup.
Dubai International Baja was the final of the FIM Baja World Cup, where riders enter on the basis of points from their two best results of the season and Konrad came out on top in the Juniors with 50 points and 41 in the Bikes, in third place.

Assured of the Junior World Cup, on Friday the setbacks of title contenders al Balooshi and Magalhaes opened a royal road for Konrad who did not let himself be impressed but managed his race very intelligently. Today, his hours of training with the road book in the desert paid off, the young Pole opened the track for most of the race, finished second in the race but ahead of his rivals for the FIM Baja World Cup title!

"It was a great race to end the season," said Konrad. "I came here in third place and I leave with the crown! I am really happy because it was a tough race and I have been riding all season with my rally bike which is much heavier and less manoeuvrable than the smaller enduro or cross bikes but at least it prepares me for the Dakar. I also opened the track most of the time and it was sometimes complicated to navigate in the dunes. But this performance is a great satisfaction for me because it is the reward after months of training, it is super motivating and I can't wait for the Dakar!"

To be continued: Konrad Dabrowski's next adventures on the Dakar from January 1st to 15th 2023!

Source official press release
Photo: RallyZone

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Dubai Intenational Baja 2022: Outright victory and T4 success in Dubai for Polish rookie Eryk Goczal in South Racing Can-Am Maverick

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FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.

South Racing Can-Am Team’s De Sousa Batista wins FIA World Cup T4 Championship
South Racing’s Alvarez confirms third in FIA World Cup Drivers’ Championship with T3 win

Three members of the Polish Goczal family, driving a trio of South Racing-built and run Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbos, made a little bit of motor sporting history in the UAE when they secured the top three places in the overall standings at the Dubai International Baja, the final round of the 2022 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.
The three Can-Ams ran under the Energylandia Rally Team banner, with the Polish trio of Marek, Michal and Eryk Goczal driving alongside their respective navigators, Pole Maciej Marton, Frenchman François Cazalet and Spaniard Oriol Mena.
They dominated the T4 category in Dubai, with young Eryk finishing 49 seconds ahead on his desert debut to claim outright victory from Michal and Marek Goczal. It was the first time in history that three T4 cars had filled the top three positions on a major event in the FIA calendar and was a testament to the competitiveness of the Can-Am over demanding desert terrain.

A triumphant Eryk Goczal said: “This was the first stages of my life. I must say I was a little bit scared to start. Everybody say it was going to be really difficult. Nobody said it would be so fun. We did a great job and no margin of mistake in the navigation. This is just preparation for the Dakar...”

Meanwhile, South Racing Can-Am Team’s Cristiano de Sousa Batista pipped team-mate Meshari Al-Thefiri to the T4 Championship title, as South Racing Can-Ams filled the top six places in the class in Dubai.
De Sousa Batista and Al-Thefiri were separated by just one point at the start of the final two-day event through Dubai’s Al Qudra desert. Al-Thefiri and his co-driver Oriol Vidal managed to finish fourth and claim more points but it was not enough to displace his sixth-placed rival, co-driven by Fausto Moto, from the top of the standings when dropped scores were taken into account. Dutchman Kees Koolen came home in fifth with fellow countryman Wouter Rosegaar reading the road book.

De Sousa said: “It was a tough year. We could not go to Jordan but there were many races and many hours in a ‘plane from Brazil to the races and many hours of work. This weekend in Dubai was good and we were much better in the dunes today. It was good experience for the Dakar.”

Fernando Alvarez had already clinched the T3 Championship in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and the Spaniard again teamed up with French co-driver Xavier Panseri to confirm third overall in the Drivers’ Championship by finishing seventh overall and first in T3 in his Conarpesa-backed Can-Am.

Alvarez said: “It was a good final day without any problems and we are third overall in all the cars in the championship. We are really happy for this. Now we go and wait for the Dakar. I go back to Argentina and then all the way back to Bologna for the FIA ceremony to collect my trophy!”

Saudi Arabia’s Dania Akeel finished second overall in the T3 Championship behind Alvarez and benefitted from the navigational skills of Uruguay’s Sergio Lafuente to finish ninth overall and second in T3 in the UAE.
Akeel’s fellow Saudi Mashael Al-Obaidan was partnered by Italy’s Paulo Ceci and finished fourth after first day suspension damage, while Dutch lady Anja van Loon and Ukraine’s Dmytro Tsyro were fifth.
Eduard Pons and Mónica Plaza Vasquez incurred a fistful of time penalties on the final day but reached the finish in their T4 South Racing Can-Am, while the Spanish duo of Antonio Marmolejo and Ariel Jaton teamed up in a fifth South Racing Can-Am entered in the FIA T4 section and finished down the rankings in eighth after on-stage delays.
The South Racing Can-Am Team completed the grand slam of four titles by also winning the FIA World Cup Teams’ and T4 titles.

South Racing Can-Am Team’s Scott Abraham said: “Finally we get to the end of the season in Dubai and a great location in Dubai Festival City. It was another strong result for the team. It has been a long season for everyone with ups and downs along the way. In the end, we were able to take home the T3 World Cup with Fernando and the T4 World Cup. It has been a hard-fought year and a big thanks goes out to all our team and our drivers for putting their trust in us over the course of the season.”

As it happened

Alvarez and Michal Goczal topped the times in their respective T3 and T4 categories through the opening selective section of 194.40km that started from the town of Al-Lisaili on the Dubai to Al Ain highway and crossed demanding terrain in the surrounding Al Qudra desert.
Alvarez pipped Akeel by 75 seconds to the T3 advantage until he later incurred 15 minutes of time penalties for missing a route waypoint, while Goczal headed a family 1-2-3 from Eryk and Marek and headed towards the night halt with an unofficial lead of 5min 35sec. Al-Obaidan incurred time penalties after damaging her suspension in the stage.

Alvarez said: “It was more difficult than we expected. It was nice and we did well. The only problem was that we broke the belt and had to stop to change it. The broken one was difficult to take off. We lost some time there. Tomorrow, the same stage in reverse.”

Koolen and Al-Thefiri were separated by just three seconds in the tussle for fourth but the Kuwaiti held the advantage over De Sousa Batista in the tussle for the FIA T4 title and led the Brazilian by 27 minutes.
Several drivers were later handed time back late on Friday evening as a result of delayed restarts from the refuelling point and this actually gifted young Eryk Goczal the outright lead with Marek moving ahead of his brother in the standings.
The second stage of 195.98km headed out in a reverse of the day before to finish at Al-Lisaili. As the Goczal trio battled it out for overall T4 honours and De Sousa Batista eyed the overall title, Alvarez managed to beat Akeel to T3 honours when his time penalty was rescinded by race officials.
Remarkably, Michal and Eryk Goczal tied to the second on the stage with times of 3hr 48min 58sec and Eryk had done enough to claim a stunning victory from Michal and Marek.
The South Racing Can-Am Team received valuable support for the 2022 race programme from Method Wheels, Tensor Tires, Motul, Bell, Jjuan Brake Systems, Lazer and OMP.

Next stop for the team is the gruelling Dakar Rally, the opening round of the 2023 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship, with 22 cars at the start of January.

Dubai International Baja – FIA T3 standings:
1. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 7hr 35min 30sec
2. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Sergio Lafuente (URY) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 7hr 45min 15sec
3. Thomas Bell (ARE)/Gerardus Schutte (ZAF) Can-Am Maverick X3 8hr 18min 54sec
4. Mashael Al-Obaidan (SAU)/Paulo Ceci (ITA) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 11hr 36min 16sec
5. Anja van Loon (NLD)/Dmytro Tsyro (UKR) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 11hr 46min 42sec
6. Alliyyah Koloc (ARE)/Stéphane Duplé (FRA) Buggyra Can-Am DV21 18hr 49min 51sec
7. Teo Calvet (FRA)/Taye Perry (DEU) Buggyra Can-Am DV21 20hr 07min 08sec
8. Geoff Minnitt (ZAF)/Pedro Santos (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 22hr 52min 28sec
9. Hamed Al-Harbi (SAU)/Alexei Kuzmich (RUS) Can-Am Maverick X3 39hr 04min 46sec
10. Khalid Al-Jafla (ARE/Andrei Rudnitski (RUS) Can-Am Maverick X3 40hr 06min 35sec

Dubai International Baja – FIA T4 standings:
1. Eryk Goczal (POL)/Oriol Mena (ESP) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo 6hr 58min 44sec
2. Michal Goczal (POL)/François Cazalet (FRA) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo 6hr 59min 33sec
3. Marek Goczal (POL)/Maciej Marton (POL) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo 7hr 00min 13se
4. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)/Oriol Vidal (ESP) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo 7hr 35min 48sec
5. Kees Koolen (NLD)/Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo 7hr 45min 31sec
6. Cristiano Batista (BRA)/Fausto Mota (PRT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo 8hr 27min 49sec
7. Camelia Liparoti (ITA)/Taye Perry (DEU) Yamaha YXZ 1000R 8hr 55min 00sec
8. Antonio Marmolejo (ESP)/Ariel Jaton (ESP) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo 12hr 35min 30sec
9. Eduard Pons (ESP)/Mónica Plaza Vasquez (ESP) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo 45hr 12min 35sec
Egidijus Valeiša (LTU)/ Mindaugas Varža (LTU) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RETIRED

Source: South Racing

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Dubai Intenational Baja 2022:In his big debut in the desert, Brazilian Lucas Moraes repeats performance and loses only to Middle East champion

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 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas

Indisposition during the race hindered Lucas Moraes, who still finished in second place during the preparatory race for Dakar

Lucas Moraes repeated the amazing performance during the Dubai International Baja, the last stage of the FIA Baja Rally World Cup. Competing for the first time in the desert, after winning yesterday the first of the two days of the competition, the young Brazilian was the second place in the closing stage, held this Saturday (3) in the sands of the United Arab Emirates. The event also finalized the driver's preparation for the Dakar 2023, to be held once again in Saudi Arabia, starting on December 31.

Together with the experienced German navigator Timo Gottschalk, winner of the Dakar in 2011, Moraes ended Saturday in the second position of the day, the same position that the duo achieved in the final sum of the race's times. After having completed last Friday's 194.40 km in first place, the Brazilian ended up feeling ill on Saturday during the 195.98 km stage between Al-Marmoun and Lisaili. In the sum of the two days, the victory of the Dubai International Baja went to the duo formed by Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi and German Dirk von Zitzewitz, who with this result became world champions.

Better than expected - "I could never have expected to finish second in my first desert race. I am very happy with this second place. For me personally, it is much better than expected," says the Brazilian, who drove a Toyota Hilux DKR IMT from the Overdrive team. "Of course, you can't not think about the fact that we had a chance to win - I never imagined fighting for the victory in my first race in the desert! Unfortunately we had to stop twice during the race for me to recover from a bout of seasickness, probably caused by not having hydrated better in the desert - it's all part of the learning curve! But anyway, this race was very important training for the Dakar, which is our objective. Now the focus is 100% on the Dakar," concluded the driver, who is part of Red Bull's team of athletes.

The Dakar Rally 2023 is scheduled to start on December 31, 2022, with the prologue. The race will be held between January 1st and 15th.

Check out the overall results in the Dubai International Baja:

  1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Arábia Saudita)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (Alemanha) - 7h02min32s
  2. Lucas Moraes (Brasil)/Timo Gottschalk (Alemanha), a 1min07s
  3. Eryk Goczal (Polônia)/Oriol Mena (Espanha), a 15min05s

 

Automatic translation from the original Portuguese version
Source Official press release

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Dubai Intenational Baja 2022: Austrian Ebster wins in Dubai; Dabrowski seals two FIM bike titles Al-Ahli tops quads on season finale; Al-Khulaifi is quad champion

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FIM Bajas World Cup, round 8

The Dubai International Baja rounded off the FIM Bajas season with a bang and delivered an intense and action-packed two-day race. _
Poland’s Konrad Dabrowski won both the FIM Bajas Motorcycle and Junior World Cups, Mirjam Pol claimed the laurels in the Women’s category, Pedro Bianchi Prata triumphed in the Veterans’ section and Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi topped the quads.

On Friday’s first special, local star Mohammed Al-Balooshi (KTM) was confronted with mechanical problems and saw his hopes of lifting the title disappear in the sand of the Al Qudra desert.
His main opponent Fabio Magalhães (Honda) experienced navigational problems and found himself without fuel and decided to retire after the first day.
That paved the way for Konrad Dabrowski (Husqvarna), who was third in the FIM Bajas World Cup before Dubai, to reap the benefits and the young Pole found himself in line for the title after the opening day.

Not only did the leaders find themselves in difficulty on the first stage, but a new star sprang from the back of the field to upset the hierarchy. Starting 29th and relatively unknown to the Baja regulars, young Austrian rider Tobias Ebster (Husqvarna) emerged to win the first stage.
On Saturday, he opened the track and was quickly caught by Dabrowski, but remained cautiously in touch with the experienced Pole to the end of the special, finishing third behind Al-Balooshi - who suffered better fortunes on the last day - and Dabrowski.
Ebster duly clinched his first Baja victory from Dabrowski and third-placed Maki Rees-Stavros.

In the Women’s category, after her recent rally-raid title, Mirjam Pol (Husqvarna) claimed victory in Dubai and won the championship.

Faithful to cross-country rallies for 30 years, Pedro Bianchi Prata (Honda) has distinguished himself all season by winning the Baja do Oeste and Baja Portalegre to wrap up the season in Dubai with the FIM Bajas World Cup Veterans’ title.

In quads, Abdulaziz Al-Ahli (Yamaha) won the Dubai Baja hands down from Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi, the winner of the FIM Quad Bajas World Cup, and fellow Saudi rival Hani Al-Noumesi.

 

Source: FIM
Photo: Rallyzone

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Dubai International Baja 2022: Erik van Loon stranded with podium finish within reach, Anja learns much from Tsyro

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A broken steering box in the final part of the second stage causes Erik van Loon and Sébastien Delaunay to drop out. Erik is firmly in second place at that point and is closing in on the leader, he is balking at the abandonment. Anja van Loon is happy with the experience of Dmytro Tsyro. The cooperation gets used quickly and Anja has learned to drive through the dunes in a different way.

"I am especially happy that things are going well with Anja and Dmytro," Erik says. "Switching navigators so soon before the Dakar is a risk, but it goes well between them. About my rally I can be brief, the potential is there while the result is again lacking. It is the fourth rally in a row with problems, I hope they will be solved before Dakar. We got behind a baby carriage quite quickly, but it drove on well. At the refueling stop we were over 3 minutes faster than Moraes, so maybe the win would have been there today."

Anja especially learned to drive differently: "Dmytro has so much experience, you notice that in everything. The calmness in the car, but also the tips he gives. We are much faster today than yesterday, it feels familiar. I feel completely ready for the Dakar Rally. Four more weeks of hard training and then I will finally start the big adventure."

On December 31, the Dakar Rally begins in Saudi Arabia. Last week, the updated route was presented. "It promises to be a tough rally with lots of sand and dunes. I am very much looking forward to it and am also very curious to see how Anja will do. For now it is important to get the car right and get us physically and mentally ready for the start in 4 weeks," Erik concludes.

Automatic translation from the original Dutch version
Source Van Loon Racing

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Dubai International Baja 2022: Overdrive Racing's Al-Rajhi seals FIA World Cup title with victory at Dubai International Baja

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Second overall for Overdrive Racing’s desert rookie Lucas Moraes
Steering arm issues push Erik van Loon down to 24th overall

Overdrive Racing’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi sealed the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas Drivers’ Championship with outright victory at the Dubai International Baja.

The Saudi overcame first day motion sickness that cost him around 10 valuable minutes to win the second of the weekend’s two selective sections through the Al Qudra desert to guarantee the title and a narrow winning margin of 67 seconds over Overdrive Racing team-mate Lucas Moraes.

Partnered by German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz, Al-Rajhi came into the weekend with a 10-point cushion over Miroslav Zapletal and delays for his Czech rival also aided the Toyota Hilux driver’s cause. It was his second successive victory in Dubai after claiming the win last year with co-driver Michael Orr.
Al-Rajhi said: “Today, we recover some time and everything was going well. We are happy to win the FIA World Cup. That was the most important goal. This season, we had a lot of race unlucky but we are finally lucky.”

Moraes returned to action with Overdrive Racing and new German co-driver Timo Gottschalk, with whom he will tackle the Dakar Rally in January. The Brazilian led after the first day and finished the repeat run of the special that was run in the opposite direction in second position.

Moraes said: “This was my first time here and the first time for me racing in proper desert and dunes. It was a great experience. To be honest, I never thought that I would be fighting for the victory here. The idea was to come here and learn, enjoy and get experience for Dakar. We managed to win the first stage and started to get going. Today was a little bit tricky for me. I got motion sickness twice and had to stop and recover a little for a couple of minutes. The team has been awesome. The goal was to finish and we did that and now we focus on Dakar.”

Dutchman Erik van Loon again teamed up with French co-driver Sébastien Delaunay in the third of the Overdrive Racing Toyotas. He held fourth overall after day one and reached the finish at Dubai Festival City in 24th overall after incurring time penalties following steering arm issues on the final day.

Moraes started superbly and the Brazilian set the fastest time on the opening selective section of 194.40km that started from the camel farming hub of Lisaili on the Dubai to Al Ain highway and crossed the surrounding Al Qudra desert. Moraes beat Van Loon by 6min 53sec and a struggling Al-Rajhi by 10.05sec to give Overdrive Racing a 1-2-3 in T1 after the first day and first, fourth and fifth in the overall rankings.

Von Zitzewitz said: “It was short, soft steep dunes and it was no fun. Many people had problems with their stomach. It was not easy but, somehow, I could manage but then Yazeed got sick. He was throwing up and we needed to stop for eight to 10 minutes so that he have some time and relax. Then we went slowly to the finish. It was no nice racing. The new car was running nicely and we are still beating our main competitor in the championship. He had some problems as well. The outcome was okay but it was not a nice day. A great result for Lucas and Timo to win the stage but I am a little bit worried that we have to do the same stuff again tomorrow in the opposite direction.”

Moraes’s co-driver Gottschalk added: “We discovered on the test that it was going quite nicely between us and he’s a fast guy, Today, he proved that he has a clever speed and he was driving the dunes really nicely. It was hard for the body and the car today. The area is nice for the rally and we have open waypoints for the navigation, so it was a good training.”

The second stage of 195.98km headed out in the opposite direction to finish at Al-Lisaili and Al-Rajhi stormed through to seal outright victory with an impressive stage win. The Saudi beat the struggling Moraes by 11min 10sec, as the Overdrive Racing duo confirmed a 1-2 finish to wrap up another successful FIA season of cross-country racing

The team now switches its attention to running eight cars at the 2023 Dakar Rally, starting on New Year’s Eve in Saudi Arabia.

2022 Dubai International Baja – result:
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 7hr 02min 32sec
2. Lucas Moraes (BRA)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 7hr 03min 39sec
3. Eryk Goczal (POL)/Oriol Mena (ESP) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4) 7hr 18min 44sec
4. Michal Goczal (POL)/François Cazalet (FRA) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4) 7hr 19min 33sec
5. Marek Goczal (POL)/Maciej Marton (POL) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4) 7hr 20min 13sec
6. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SVK) Ford F150 Evo 7hr 35min 08sec
7. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 7hr 35min 30sec
8. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)/Oriol Vidal (ESP) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4) 7hr 35min 48sec
9. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Sergio Lafuente (URY) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 7hr 45min 15sec
10. Kees Koolen (NLD)/Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4) 7hr 45min 31sec
24. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 32hr 21min 52sec
*T1 unless stated

Source Overdrive Racing

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