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Qatar Baja 2022: Qatar set to host joint FIA and FIM Baja event in march

Qualifying Stage to be held close to Lusail Sports Arena
Weekend off-road action across the north, south and centre of Qatar

This year’s Qatar International Baja will be a counting round of both the FIM Bajas World Cup and a new FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas for the first time. The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) has announced the three-day event will take place on March 24th-26th.

The two Bajas will run in parallel but the respective routes and programmes will not be the same. The Baja has been devised in such a way as to reduce the clash between the FIA and FIM categories as much as possible.

The Qatar International Baja will again be based at the Lusail Sports Arena, which will also host the customary service park, administration checks, scrutineering and the finish of the rally.

Rally officials have confirmed that the Qualifying Stage that determines starting orders for the first of the desert selective sections will also be held close to Lusail Sports Arena.

Four desert stages have been planned for FIM entrants and three for FIA teams: the opener is for the FIM event only and heads through the deserts of central Qatar, the second and third cross terrain through the centre and north of the country and the final timed selective passes through central and southern regions.

On Thursday, March 24th, the FIM contingent will tackle the 10km Qualifying Stage in the morning and then a first stage of 125km. FIA entrants will only tackle the Qualifying Stage in the afternoon.

FIM entrants will compete over stages B and C (125km apiece) on Friday, March 25th, while FIA teams will tackle C before B.

On the final day (Saturday, March 26th), FIM riders and drivers compete over a short 125km stage D and FIA teams end their desert action with a stage D that runs for 200km and begins 75km before the start of the FIM special.

The FIA announced in December that the new 2022 FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas will consist of four rounds in Jordan (February 17th-19th), Qatar, Saudi Arabia (November 10th-12th) and Dubai (December 1st-3rd).

The Regional Cup will offer awards for drivers, co-drivers, teams, T3 and T4 drivers and T4 teams with the best three scores to count from the four rounds. No FIA registration is required to score points.

This year’s FIM Bajas World Cup will be fought out over nine scoring events with a coefficient of one and the finale in Dubai in December with a scoring coefficient of two. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan hosts round one next month, before further scoring rounds take place in Qatar, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, two in Chile, a second event in Portugal and Saudi Arabia.

The final in Dubai is open to all competitors, but in order to have a chance of being ranked in the FIM Bajas World Cup classification, competitors must have finished one of the previous nine events and scored points on it. The final classification will be determined on the basis of the best two results in the series, in addition to the points awarded in Dubai.

This is valid across the motorcycle, quad and SSV categories and in the Junior Women’s and Veteran classes.

Motorcycles up to 450cc (single or twin cylinder, 2T or 4T) will be eligible in the FIM Bajas World Cup, in addition to quads and SSVs. Riders of motorcycles over 450cc will be able to compete but, as per the 2022 regulations, will not score points for the Cup.

Last year’s Qatar event was open to FIM and National status competitors only and ran in October as the fifth round of the FIM Bajas World Cup. Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi, Saudi Arabia’s Haitham Al-Tuwaijri and Qatar’s Ahmed Al-Kuwari won their respective motorcycle, quad and SSV categories.

The revised 2022 Baja will again be held under the chairmanship of QMMF President Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, QMMF’s Executive Director Amro Al-Hamad and board member Abdulrazaq Al-Kuwari.
For further event information, competitors and teams can contact Davy Patterson, the Competitor Liaison Officer (CRO), Email: davypatterson777@googlemail.com and WhatsApp: +44 7980 613944.
Entries open on Tuesday, February 1st and close at reduced rates on Monday, February 21st with a final cut-off set for Monday, March 14th. Supplementary regulations are available from tomorrow (Monday).
For general information about the 2022 Qatar International Baja, contact the Qatar Motor and Motor Cycle Federation (QMMF), P.O. Box 8708, Doha, Qatar, Tel: + 974 443 79885, Fax: + 974 443 79732, E-mail: info@qmmf.com.qa and www.qmmf.com

 

www.qmmf.com

 

 

 

 

 

Jordan Baja 2022: Jordan Motorsport unveils new-look Jordan Baja for February

New selective section with varied terrain and demanding dunes in Wadi Araba

The 2022 Jordan Baja returns to the international spotlight as the second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round one of the FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and the first event in the FIM Bajas World Cup on February 17th-19th.

Blessed with a slightly earlier date in the calendar - that may see competitors cross the stunning desert terrain of the world-renowned Wadi Rum in southern Jordan in cooler late winter temperatures - Jordan Motorsport has again laid on a challenging route for the Hashemite Kingdom’s flagship off-road event.

Competitors in each of the three international championships will face 471 competitive kilometres over two legs in a route of 664.13km laid on by rally officials under FIA Clerk of the Course Khaled Zakaria, his deputy Omar Zarour and their experienced organising team. Zarour will also act as the Clerk of the Course of the FIM event.

The Jordan Baja will be based at the Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort and the start and finish will take place at the Old Port in Aqaba City on the Red Sea.

Scrutineering, administrations checks and the pre-event press conference and ceremonial start will take place on Thursday, February 17th, before the competitive action takes centre stage on February 18th and 19th.

Event regulations have now been submitted for FIA approval with teams set to face one selective section of 319km through Wadi Rum on leg one and a second stage of 152km on the final day.

The second timed section runs through Wadi Araba and offers a totally new challenge to competitors with different terrain and a series of medium and high sand dunes. Picturesque Wadi Araba runs from the Gulf of Aqaba to the southern shore of the Dead Sea and is another jewel in Jordan’s scenic geographical crown.

Entries are now open and a closing date has been set for Saturday. February 5th

“The team is now putting the finishing touches to everything and we are looking forward to welcoming world-class motorsport back to Jordan,” said Zaid Balqez, Chairman of the Organising Committee.
“We are blessed with some of the most spectacular terrain on the planet and our competitors will be able to appreciate the beauty of the region that has been showcased frequently by numerous blockbuster Hollywood films, including The Martian, Aladdin, Dune and Star Wars.”

Saudi Arabia’s Yasir Seaidan is the defending champion in the FIA category after pipping Dutchman Erik van Loon to victory last March. Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi was a comfortable winner of the motorcycle section and Saudi Arabia’s Hani Al-Noumesi was the sole finisher in the international quad category in 2021.

For further information, contact Jordan Motorsport, P.O. Box 143222, Bayader Wadi Seer, 11814, Jordan, Tel: +962 (6) 5850626, Email: info@jordanrally.com.

 

Source Jordan Motorsport

Hail Cross-Country Rally 2021: Nasser Al-Attiyah wraps up fifth World Championship in style in Saudi Arabia

 

Nasser Al-Attiyah has completed his perfect preparation for the upcoming Dakar by winning the Hail Rally. The victory sees the Qatari driver crowned champion of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies for a fifth time.

Rally wins in Andalucia, Morocco and Abu Dhabi had brought Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel to the cusp of their fourth World Cup winning season as a pair. Despite three-time Dakar winner Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver only needing a handful of points at the Hail Rally, the duo blasted their way to victory at the season finale.

“It was fantastic and we are obviously very happy with the result. I am so happy to win this race and to win the World Cup title.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

The next appointment for Al-Attiyah and Baumel is also in Saudi Arabia as the country hosts its third Dakar Rally next month. The Toyota Gazoo Racing pair will be at the controls of the all-new T1+ version of their Hilux when the Dakar departs from Hail on January 2.

“This was the last time for me in this car. The next step will be the T1+ in Dakar!” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

Al-Attiyah and Baumel’s dominance this week saw them win three of the four stages in Hail. The only other race crew to record a stage win was Kuba Przygonski of Poland and his German co-driver Timo Gottschalk. A rollercoaster ride in Saudi Arabia eventually saw this pair park their MINI JCW Buggy in sixth place overall

“The Hail Rally was very good preparation for the Dakar, as there will definitely be a few stages in this area in January.” – Kuba PrzygonskiIt was also a useful trip to Dakar territory for Spaniard Laia Sanz as she switches to racing on four wheels. After completing 11 consecutive editions of the Dakar on a bike, Sanz will race the next Dakar in a MINI ALL4 Racing. Sanz guided her new vehicle to an eighth place finish at the Hail Rally alongside co-driver Maurizio Gerini of Italy.

“We were surprised by our good pace, a lot closer to the front from what we were thinking. Maurizio and myself are understanding each other better each day and we look forward to the next one!” – Laia Sanz

Next up for the best desert racers on the planet is the 2022 Dakar, departing from Hail on January 2 and finishing in Jeddah on January 14. Keep up-to-date with the entire Red Bull Desert Wings convoy on Red Bull Motorsports’ social media: Red Bull Motorsport Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Desert Wings Instagram

QUOTES

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “It was a good last stage and completely different to the first three. It was all gravel through the mountains. It was fantastic and we are obviously very happy with the result. I am so happy to win this race and to win the World Cup title. It was a great win. This was the last time for me in this car. The next step will be the T1+ in Dakar!”

Kuba Przygonski: “The Hail Rally was very good preparation for the Dakar, as there will definitely be a few stages in this area in January. We tested a few things on the MINI JCW Buggy and now feel better in the car.”

Laia Sanz: “We are very happy because we were able to learn so much. These days, we got to understand and know the Mini better. We were surprised by our good pace, a lot closer to the front from what we were thinking. Maurizio and myself are understanding each other better each day and we look forward to the next one! We made some rookie mistakes but this is why we came here, so that these things happen now and not in the Dakar.”

 

Source: Red Bull
Photo: Marian Chytka/Red Bull Content Pool

Hail Cross-Country Rally 2021: Marek Gozcal and Saleh Al-Saif seal T4 and T3 victories

South Racing-built Can-Ams dominated both the FIA T3 and T4 categories at the Hail Cross-Country Rally in Saudi Arabia, with Poland’s Marek Goczal sealing the win in T4 and local driver Saleh Al-Saif claiming victory in T3.

South Racing machines dominated both categories on the demanding four-day desert finale to the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies that had already seen American racer Austin Jones claim the FIA T4 World Championship title in a South Racing Can-Am and the South Racing Can-Am Team confirm the FIA Teams’ title.

Michal Goczal and his co-driver Szymon Gospodarczyk became embroiled in a tussle with brother Marek Goczal and his navigator Lukasz Laskawiec for overall T4 honours in two Energylandia Rally Team Can-Ams built by South Racing. Gearbox issues thwarted Michal’s challenge on day three and he finished fifth, but Marek managed to secure a first victory by the margin of 31min 55sec and finished a superb seventh in the overall rally classification.

Australia’s Molly Taylor and Dale Moscatt used the event as a valuable test session before the Dakar Rally in January and the talented female driver reached the finish in second position in T4 and 10th overall.

“We made it to the end after a great week with a lot of learning,” said Taylor. “The final stage was not ideal. We had a puncture. But we made it through in P2 overall. The rally gave us a taste of everything that we can expect on the Dakar.”

South Racing Middle East’s Thomas Bell teamed up with Bruno Jacomy to finish third after the Ukraine’s fourth-placed Ievgen Kovalevych incurred time penalties for failing to finish the second stage.

“It was a great rally for South Racing and South Racing Middle East,” said Bell. “Some spectacular routes this week and fantastic stages.”

Saudi Arabia’s Saleh Al-Saif and Egor Okhotikov secured a comfortable win in the FIA T3 section, the local driver finishing 47min 24sec clear of his nearest rival.

Saudi female driver Mashael Al-Obaidan teamed up with Italy’s Jacopo Cerruti and drove a South Racing Middle East-run Can-Am superbly to finish second, despite a roll in the dunes

Her compatriot Dania Akeel had already won the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas T3 title and the Saudi reached the finish in fourth with French navigator Antonia de Roissard. Germany’s Annett Fischer teamed up with Sweden’s Annie Seel and ran a South Racing-built Can-Am under the X-raid banner to round off the podium places with a fastest time on SS1 to boot.

“It was a super-fast and rocky last stage,” said Fischer. “We tried to push a bit but there was a lot of dust. It was good preparation for us for the Dakar. It was our first race together. We had a lot to learn and it came together well with P3 and I got my first ever stage win on day one.”

“I am so happy to finish the Hail Rally,” said Akeel. “The whole last stage was flat and fast. I love going fast. I enjoy the dunes but the last day was fun. The whole week was an incredible experience for me.”

The Russian duo of Pavel Lebedev and Kirill Shubin suffered a crash and broken suspension on the first stage, sat out the next two days and returned to win the last special and secure sixth position.

South Racing Can-Am Team’s Scott Abraham said: “Hail was the end of a very eventful FIA cross-country season for the team. It was a first win for Marek. He has been close a lot of times and sealed the deal here. Molly reached the podium on her second only cross-country race and proved that she has the pace to hang with the boys. Thomas Bell was third in the T4.

“In the T3s it was the same with Saleh Al-Saif in one of our cars and Mashael finishing in second and Annett finishing in third. It was a strong event for the ladies. It has been a great year for the team and Can-Am. The next challenge for us is Dakar 2022.”

 

As it happened

The four days of desert competition began with a selective section of 258.14km. Saleh Al-Saif topped the times in the T3 section in his Can-Am, the Saudi beating Fischer to the stage win by 4min 51sec. Al-Obaidan came home in third, with Anvar Ergashev in fourth place and Akeel finishing sixth with additional time penalties after a heavy landing in camel grass broke one of the steering arms.

An accident sidelined Lebedev with damaged suspension and the Russian duly earned a fistful of time penalties.

Michal Goczal moved into eighth in the overall classification, won the T4 stage in his Can-Am and finished 9min 43sec in front of Taylor. The Pole’s brother Marek was third, despite a bent suspension arm, while Kovalevych and Bell rounded off the top five.

Action continued with a longer second stage of 314km. Three South Racing-built Can-Ams found themselves in the overall top 10, with Michal Goczal heading brother Marek and Taylor. Marek and Michal Goczal later benefited from 17min 22sec and 13min 41sec time deductions when their path through the opening stage was analysed by rally officials.

“The stage was marvellous,” said Marek Goczal. “We got together with my brother to the first waypoint because we couldn’t find it. We were racing and driving together all the way to the finish line. We really increased the tempo after the refuelling. It reminded me of my dream Dakar stage. For moments like this, it is really worth racing..”

Bell moved up to fourth after Kovalevych incurred time penalties for not completing the stage after an accident. “After km80 we made a mistake at the left turn, the sand was very soft and we rolled a couple of times,” said Kovalevych. “We were the first to finish. We bent the rear arm, broke the rear drive shaft but we assembled the car and slowly made our way to the finish through the dunes.”

Al-Saif topped the T3 times in his Can-Am, the Saudi beating Al-Obaidan by 20min 06sec and Dania Akeel by 36min 02sec. The result meant that Al-Obaidan overhauled Fischer to snatch second in the rankings and Akeel moved up to fourth. Lebedev sat out the stage and incurred further time penalties.

“No problems with the car and I drove to my comfort level,” said Akeel. “I didn’t take any risks. It makes me a little disappointed after my mistake on day one.”

Day three’s timetable included a selective section of 249km. Gearbox woes spelt the end of Michal Goczal’s challenge for T4 honours and the Pole slipped out of contention as his brother Marek claimed the stage win and moved 25min 37sec ahead of Taylor in the rankings. Kovalevych came home third on the day.

“It was not a good stage for us, we broke the gearbox 30km after the start,” said Michal Goczal. “We are not happy because we were in the first position. Now we will push on the last day. Maybe we accumulate the luck for the Dakar.”

In T3, another stage win enabled Al-Saif to increase his advantage over Al-Obaidan to 44min 37sec. Fischer was third on the day and held a similar position in the standings, with Akeel and Lebedev filling fourth and sixth, Akeel frustrated by a couple of navigational delays during the day.

Michal Goczal bounced back strongly to win the short final stage of 148km in the T4 section, the Pole beating his brother Marek by 2min 56sec, although the latter secured the T4 category win from Taylor and Bell.

Lebedev returned to action to win the stage in the T3 section, but second-placed Al-Saif had done enough to claim the category win. Al-Obaidan and Fischer were a distant second and third.

Support for the South Racing Can-Am Team came from Method Wheels, Tensor Tires, Motul, Bell, Jjuan Brake Systems, Lazer and OMP

Both the South Racing Can-Am Team and South Racing Middle East now switch their attention to the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in January.

2021 Hail Cross-Country Rally – FIA T4 result:

1. Marek Goczal (POL)/Lukasz Laskawiec (POL) Can-Am Maverick 12hr 11min 19sec
2. Molly Taylor (AUS)/Dale Moscatt (AUS) South Racing Can-Am Maverick 12hr 43min 14sec
3. Thomas Bell (GBR)/Bruno Jacomy (ITA) South Racing ME Can-Am Maverick 13hr 50min 08sec
4. Ievgen Kovalevych (UKR)/Dmitro Tsyro ((UKR) South Racing Can-Am Maverick 34hr 18min 54sec
5. Michal Goczal (POL)/Szymon Gospodarczyk (POL) Can-Am Maverick 38hr 24min 19sec

2021 Hail Cross-Country Rally – FIA T3 result:

1. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/Egor Okhotikov (RUS) South Racing ME Can-Am Maverick XRS 13hr 00min 10sec
2. Mashael Al-Obaidan (SAU)/Jacopo Cerutti (ITA) South Racing ME Can-Am Maverick X3 13hr 47min 34sec
3. Annett Fischer (DEU)/Annie Seel (SWE) X-Raid/South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS 14hr 12min 33sec
4. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Antonia de Roissard (FRA) South Racing ME Can-Am Maverick 15hr 18min 51sec
5. Esraa Aldkheil (SAU)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Can-Am X3 RR 36hr 51min 19sec
6. Pavel Lebedev (RUS)/Kirill Shubin (RUS) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS 96hr 00min 16sec

Sorce South Racing

Hail Cross-Country Rally 2021: All four MINI in the top ten

 

Krotov and Halpern on the podium
Sixth place for Przygonski, eighth for Sanz

The Hail Rally in Saudi Arabia proved to be a good dress rehearsal for X-raid. All four MINI that started the desert race – three MINI JCW Buggy and one MINI ALL4 Racing – ended the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country-Rallies in the top ten. Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov finished a very good second place, ahead of their MINI JCW Buggy team-mates from Argentina, Sebastian Halpern and Bernardo “Ronnie” Graue. Jakub “Kuba” Przygonski (POL) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) finished sixth in another MINI JCW Buggy, while Laia Sanz (ESP) and Maurizio Gerini (ITA) came home eighth in their MINI ALL4 Racing.

Drivers Krotov and Halpern showed particularly impressive consistency throughout the Hail Rally. They finished in the top five on all four stages and lost very little time at all. This was in contrast to most of their rivals, who encountered problems at least once. As a result, Krotov took finished runner-up for the second rally in a row, having also done so in Kazakhstan. Third place for Sebastian Halpern was his best result of the season.

“We have all learned a lot,” said Halpern at the finish. “We are faster and the team was able to give me some helpful advice on how I can improve. I am delighted with that. It was also good preparation for the Dakar. I had never been here and had no idea what kind of terrain to expect. Ronnie did a great job. Navigation was not easy yesterday and today.”

Przygonski and Gottschalk went through an emotional rollercoaster: After finishing third on day one and taking victory on the second stage, they lost almost 40 minutes as a result of a technical issue on day three. That saw them drop to sixth place in the overall standings, and they went on to finish the rally in precisely that position.

“The Hail Rally was very good preparation for the Dakar, as there will definitely be a few stages in this area in January,” said Przygonski. “We tested a few things on the MINI JCW Buggy and now feel better in the car.”

The Hail Rally was only the second outing in a MINI ALL4 Racing for Sanz, and the first rally with her new co-driver Gerini. As a result, the focus was more on preparation for the Dakar than on the actual result. The pair consistently finished in the top ten and ended their dress rehearsal in eighth place overall.

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Hail Rally overall standings
1. N. Al-Attiyah /M. Baumel – Toyota – 10h 50m 23s
2. D. Krotov / K. Zhiltsov – MINI JCW Buggy – 11h 12m 14s
3. S. Halpern / R. Graue – MINI JCW Buggy – 11h 19m 07
4. V. Vasilyev / O. Uperenko – BMW X5 – 11h 19m 50s
5. L. Alvarez / A. Monleon – Toyota – 11h 25m 31s
6. J. Przygonski / T. Gottschalk – MINI JCW Buggy – 11h 38m 38s

8. L. Sanz / M. Gerini – MINI ALL4 Racing – 12h 14m 10s

 

Source X-Raid

Hail Cross-Country Rally 2021: Toyota's Al-Attiyah confirms fifth FIA World Cup title in Saudi Arabia

  

Overdrive Racing’s Lucio Alvarez finishes fifth overall
Valuable test session for Chabot and Yacopini in T1+ cars

Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah confirmed a career fifth FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies Drivers’ Championship with a start-to-finish victory at the Hail Cross-Country Rally in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The Toyota Gazoo Hilux driver and his French co-driver Matthieu Baumel won three of the event’s four selective sections to seal a third Hail International Rally win for the Qatari and a fourth for Baumel by the margin of 21min 51sec. Al-Attiyah and Baumel duly confirmed their fourth FIA World Cup title together to add to the three successive wins between 2015 and 2017.

It was always going to be a tall order for Lucio Alvarez to win the FIA World Cup Drivers’ title. The Argentine and Spanish navigator Armand Monleón reached the finish in fifth place and the Overdrive Racing Toyota driver confirmed the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship.

Al-Attiyah said: “It was a good last stage and completely different to the first three. It was all gravel through the mountains. It was fantastic and we are obviously very happy with the result. I am so happy to win this race and to win the World Cup title. It was a great win. This was the last time for me in this car. The next step will be the T1+ in Dakar!”

Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Ulster co-driver Michael Orr had been on the pace of Al-Attiyah through the opening stage until gearbox issues intervened. The decision was taken to withdraw the Overdrive Toyota from the race and Al-Rajhi missed out on the chance to push Alvarez for second in the title race.

The French duo of Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot and the Argentine pairing of Juan Cruz and Alejandro Yacopini took the opportunity to test drive the latest Toyota Hilux T1+ at the Hail event. Both crews revelled in the experience with the 2022 specification car and set competitive stage times over the four days.

“This is a fantastic result for the whole team, a useful test session for everyone before the Dakar Rally, a perfect send off for the older specification Toyota Hilux and a chance for Ronan and Juan Cruz to drive the latest specification T1+ before the Dakar,” said a delighted Overdrive Racing’s CEO Jean-Marc Fortin. “Congratulations to the whole team. It is always a pleasure to work with everyone and we showed again with this result that we have the best team in the world.”

Al-Attiyah started behind the three 2022 specification machines on the opening selective section of 258.14km and managed to pass all three before the half-way point. The Qatari went on to win the stage by 6min 05sec to claim 1.5 valuable World Cup points but, more importantly, he beat seventh-placed Alvarez by 22min 16sec.

Al-Attiyah’s co-driver Baumel said: “We started first of the T1 cars, but the T1 2022 specification cars started before us. We passed all three of them during the day and we opened the road half the way. It was not an easy stage. The first part was more navigation and off-track and the second part was faster. It was a nice day and we had a good result. We need to win two stages to get the World Cup. That is the goal for this rally.”

Al-Rajhi was running second quickest until the last section when a gearbox issue intervened and cost the Saudi 1hr 48min to the leader. Both Chabot and Yacopini adjusted well to the latest specification Toyota and set competitive times on their debut.

The decision was taken to withdraw Al-Rajhi before the start of the second 314km selective section. Al-Attiyah opened the road, managed to pass the three 2022 specification vehicles and only dropped 69 seconds to the stage-winning Jakub Przygonski. By finishing second, the Qatari added another bonus point to the 1.5 he earned for the quickest time on day one and made it mathematically impossible for team-mate Alvarez to steal the FIA World Cup title.

Alvarez was fourth on the stage and moved up a place to sixth, while Yacopini and Chabot gained more kilometres in the new Toyotas, although Chabot was delayed on the special and incurred time penalties.

Stage three ran for 249km and Al-Attiyah took advantage of running second on the road to claim another fastest time. The Qatari managed to beat Vladimir Vasilyev to the stage win by 3min 57sec and extended his lead over Denis Krotov to 18min 18sec. Alvarez came home in fourth and moved up to fifth in the rankings when Przygonski was delayed. Both Chabot and Yacopini enjoyed clean runs through the desert in the 2022 specification Toyotas.

There were no dramas for Al-Attiyah through the short final stage of 148km and the Qatari duly confirmed the rally win and a fifth FIA World Cup title. Alvarez’s consolation was the runner-up spot in the title race.

Overdrive Racing and Toyota Gazoo Racing now switch their attention to the Dakar Rally at the start of January.

2021 Hail Cross-Country Rally – result:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Gazoo Hilux 10hr 50min 23sec
2. Denis Krotov (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy 11hr 12min 14sec
3. Sebastien Halpern (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy 11hr 19min 07sec
4. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Oleg Uperenko (LVA) BMW X5 11hr 19min 50sec
5. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Armand Monleón (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 11hr 25min 31sec
6. Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy 11hr 38min 38sec, etc

Select others:[n1]
Juan Cruz Yacopini (ARG)/Alejandro Yacopini (ARG) Toyota Hilux Overdrive T1+ 12hr 55min 04sec
Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive T1+ 29hr 21min 22sec

 

Source Overdrive Racing

Hail Cross-Country Rally 2021: Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah seals fifth FIA World Cup title with victory in Hail

 

Marek Goczal and Saleh Al-Saif steer their Can-Ams to T4 and T3 success
Mishal Al-Ghuneim and Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi top motorcycles and quads

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah set the fastest time on the short final stage of the Hail Cross-Country Rally to secure a fifth FIA World Cup Drivers’ Championship title in emphatic style on Saturday.

Mathematically, the Qatari had won the title after recording two stage wins earlier in the event, but he and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel pressed on regardless in their Toyota Hilux to record three stage wins and a winning margin of 21min 51sec over the Russian duo of Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov. The success also marked their fourth FIA World Cup title together after three successive wins between 2015 and 2017.

Al-Attiyah said: “It was a good last stage and completely different to the first three. It was all gravel through the mountains. It was fantastic and we are obviously very happy with the result. I am so happy to win this race and to win the World Cup title. It was a great win. This was the last time for me in this car. The next step will be the T1+ in Dakar!”

Argentina’s Sebastien Halpern managed to overhaul Vladimir Vasilyev on the final stage to snatch the last place on the podium in the second of the X-raid Mini Buggies. Fellow countryman Lucio Alvarez may have missed out on the Drivers’ title to Al-Attiyah, but his consolation was the third fastest time on the last stage, fifth overall and the runner-up spot in the championship in his Overdrive Racing Toyota.

Poland’s Jakub Przygonski was second quickest on the 148km final section, but a drive shaft issue had cost the Mini Buggy driver a potential podium on Friday and he finished in sixth place. Spaniard Laia Sanz brought her Mini home in a fine eighth overall, as she prepares for the forthcoming Dakar Rally with the X-raid team.

Martin Prokop used the event to shakedown his new Ford Raptor Cross-Country, alongside Frenchman Ronan Chabot and Argentina’s Juan Cruz Yacopini in a pair of Toyota Hilux T1+ machines run by Overdrive Racing. None of the three crews were eligible for FIA points, but Prokop set stage times worthy of seventh in the overall standings.

Michal Goczal bounced back from gearbox issues that cost him a potential win in the T4 section to set the fastest time on the final stage in his Can-Am. He beat his brother Marek by 2min 56sec, but it was his fellow Pole who claimed the win and a fine seventh in the overall classification.

Australia’s Molly Taylor finished second in T4, 31min 55sec adrift, and Dubai-based Briton Thomas Bell, Ukraine’s Ievgen Kovalevych and Michal Goczal were third, fourth and fifth.

Pavel Lebedev missed two days of the rally after a first day crash that damaged his Can-Am’s suspension but, as per the regulations, he was able to tackle the final day and managed to win the T3 stage by 4min 54sec from overall category winner Saleh Al-Saif.

The Saudi recorded a winning margin of 47min 24sec over Mashael Al-Obaidan. Annett Fischer rounded off the podium places in her X-Raid/South Racing Can-Am and the Saudi female duo of Dania Akeel and Esraa Aldkheil were fourth and fifth.

“I am so happy to finish the Hail Rally,” said Akeel. “The whole stage today was flat and fast. I love going fast. I enjoy the dunes but today was so much fun. It was hard to pass cars in the dust but I took no risks. The whole week has been incredible and great experience for me.”

Ahmed Al-Jaber claimed the final motorcycle stage win by beating Abdullah Lanjawi by 1min 56sec, but the outright victory went to Mishal Al-Ghuneim. Problems for Othman Al-Ghfeli cost the Saudi around 15 minutes on the last test and that dropped him behind his rival, with the pair separated by just 13 seconds at the finish.

Al-Jaber filled the last step of the podium, with Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera and Lanjawi rounding off the top five.

Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi sealed the quad win with another stage success on his Yamaha, the multiple Hail winner adding another success to his tally. His winning margin over Haitham Al-Tuwaijri was 1hr 56min 32sec, with Hani Al-Noumesi coming home in third.

Two-time Hail Rally winner Essa Al-Dossary comfortably won the last stage of the National/Open category in his Nissan Navara, but outright victory in the event went to Aliyyah Koloc, with Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri incurring time penalties and dropping to second place. Saeed Al-Mouri finished third in his Can-Am Maverick.

Japan’s Teruhito Sugawara (Hino) sealed the win in the Truck category with the fastest time on the final stage. Teo Calvet lost the outright lead on day three and Saudi Arabia’s Ibrahim Al-Muhanna was able to snatch second place in his Mercedes Unimog

2021 Hail Cross-Country Rally – positions after SS4 (unofficial @15.00hrs):

FIA
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Gazoo Hilux 10hr 50min 23sec
2. Denis Krotov (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy 11hr 12min 14sec
3. Sebastien Halpern (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy 11hr 19min 07sec
4. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Oleg Uperenko (LVA) BMW X5 11hr 19min 50sec
5. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Armand Monleón (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 11hr 25min 31sec

2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – Drivers’ Championship (unofficial):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT) 123pts
2. Lucio Alvarez (ARG) 75.5pts
3. Denis Krotov (RUS) 72pts
4. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU) 57pts, etc

2022 spec T1+
1. Martin Prokop (CZE)/Viktor Chytka (CZE) Ford Raptor Cross-Country 11hr 54min 51sec
2. Juan Cruz Yacopini (ARG)/Alejandro Yacopini (ARG) Toyota Hilux Overdrive T1+ 12hr 55min 04sec
3. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive T1+ 29hr 21min 22sec

Motorcycles
1. Mishal Al-Ghuneim (SAU) Husqvarna FR450 Rally 10hr 18min 07sec
2. Othman Al-Ghfeli (UAE) Honda CRF450 10hr 18min 20sec
3. Ahmed Al-Jaber (SAU) KTM 500 EXC-F 10hr 21min 59sec
4. Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera (SAU) KTM EXC 450 10hr 37min 54sec
5. Abdullah Lanjawi (SAU) Husqvarna FC 450 10hr 46min 45sec

Quads
1. Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 10hr 30min 28sec
2. Haitham Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Yamaha YFZ 450 12hr 27min 00sec
3. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 14hr 15min 14sec

Trucks
1. Teruhiro Sugawara (JPN)/Hirokazu Somemiya (JPN)/Yuji Mochizuki (JPN) Hino 600 15hr 45min 12sec
2. Ibrahim Al-Muhanna (SAU)/Osama Al-Sanad (SAU)/Tariq Al-Rammah (SAU) Mercedes Unimog 18hr 48min 02sec
3. Teo Calvet (FRA)/Josef Kalina (CZE)/Tomas Sikola (CZE) Tatra Phoenix 68hr 50min 35sec

Hail Cross-Country Rally: Al-Attiyah fastest as Przyngonski loses time on third Saudi desert stage

Gearbox woes for Michal Goczal; Saleh Al-Saif extends T3 advantage
Othman Al-Ghfeli and Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi maintain bike and quad leads

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah started second on the road and managed to pass Poland’s Jakub Przygonski to claim victory on the third 249km selective section of the Hail Cross-Country Rally on Friday.

Assuming that the Qatari’s Toyota Hilux passes all post-event scrutineering checks, he has already done enough to secure a fifth FIA World Cup title. He and co-driver Matthieu Baumel managed to beat stage runner-up Vladimir Vasilyev by 3min 57sec and will take a lead of 18min 18sec over Russia’s Denis Krotov into the final day.

Al-Attiyah said:

“A good day for us and another stage win under our belts. Now we need to bring the car safely to the finish tomorrow.”

Przygonski had been challenging Krotov for second place, but the Pole suffered a broken drive shaft on the day’s stage and finished 39min 26sec behind Al-Attiyah, the time loss dropping the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy driver to sixth overall.

Krotov’s co-driver Konstantin Zhiltsov said:

“It was so fast. The dunes were not so difficult. We tried to cross with more pressure in the tyres. It was good, only we stopped after km20 to help our friends (Przygonski) in a Buggy. We gave them a drive shaft and we lost maybe six or seven minutes. Now we need to finish this race, say goodbye to the World Cup and prepare for Dakar.”

The Argentine duo of Sebastien Halpern and Lucio Alvarez completed the day’s timed section with the third and fourth quickest times and now hold fourth and fifth in the overall classification. Spaniard Laia Sanz bounced back from second day delays and now holds 10th.

Various time penalties were imposed on several T3 and T4 competitors before the restart, but the Polish duo of Michal and Marek Goczal actually benefited from time deductions after rally officials had further examined their paths through the first stage on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Ievgen Kovalevych had rolled in the dunes on Thursday and plummeted to the foot of the T4 standings when time penalties were imposed.

Gearbox issues cost Michal Goczal his T4 lead, however, and his brother Marek set the fastest time on the day’s stage and moved 25min 37sec in front of Australia’s Molly Taylor. Thomas Bell climbed to third overall and Ievgen Kovalevych bounced back with the third quickest time on the special.

Saleh Al-Saif was again the dominant force in T3 and the Saudi increased his lead over Mashael Al-Obaidan to 44min 37sec with another stage win. Al-Obaidan edged 42 seconds further away from Germany’s Annett Fischer in the battle for second place.

Dania Akeel held fourth after a couple of navigational issues and Esraa Aldkheil recovered from her roll in the dunes on Thursday to finish the stage in fifth. Pavel Lebedev again sat out the stage after his first day problems.

“It was fun today,” said Akeel. “We had a couple of navigation issues and went from second to fourth and back to second and then to fourth again. I kept it steady and safe but I was faster than fourth. I am a little disappointed. In cross-country so many other things matter.”

Abdullah Lanjawi claimed the motorcycle stage win but seventh place on the day for Othman Al-Ghfeli meant the Saudi maintained an advantage of 11min 21sec over Mishal Al-Ghuneim to take into the final day. Ahmed Al-Jaber climbed to third and Yasir Al-Khuraif pushed Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera and Italy’s Mauro Torrini down to fifth and sixth overall.

Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi extended his advantage in the quad category to 66min 02sec with a comfortable stage win over Haitham Al-Tuwaijri and Hani Al-Noumesi, although both his Saudi rivals retained second and third places.

Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri clocked the unofficial quickest time in the National category from Aliyyah Koloc and gained the lead when Saeed Al-Mouri ceded 14 minutes to his fellow countryman and slipped to fifth place. Two-time Hail International Rally winner Essa Al-Dossary was third on the day in his Nissan Navara.

Japan’s Teruhito Sugawara (Hino) won his second stage in the Truck category from Saudi Arabia’s Ibrahim Al-Muhanna. Overnight leader Teo Calvet suffered technical issues at the start of the stage.

Tomorrow (Saturday), competitors tackle the final stage of the event and the last competitive cross-country special of 2021. After a run out of 56km, the stage only runs for 148km and features passage controls after 65km, 82km, 87km, 129km and 142km. A road section of 132km takes the survivors back to Parc Fermé in Hail.

 

Source SAMF

Hail Cross-Country Rally 2021: Przygonski fastest as Al-Attiyah closes in on FIA World Cup Title

Polish Goczal brothers in T4 tussle; Saudi’s Saleh Al-Saif leads T3 section
Saudi riders Othman Al-Ghfeli and Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi lead bikes and quads

Poland’s Jakub Przygonski beat Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah by 69 seconds to claim the fastest time on the second 314km selective section of the Hail Cross-Country Rally on Thursday morning.

But the bonus point that the Qatari collected for setting the second quickest time, coupled with the 1.5 points he earned for being fastest on Wednesday, pushed him ever closer to the FIA World Cup title in the duel with Toyota team-mate Lucio Alvarez. Al-Attiyah now leads the event by 7min 11sec, with his title rival down in sixth place, 24min 28sec behind.

Al-Attiyah said: “I am quite happy. It was a good stage and we take good points yesterday and today. This is good towards the FIA World Cup. We opened all the way and it was not easy. But we lost only one minute. Tomorrow we start behind Kuba (Przygonski).”

Przygonski and German navigator Timo Gottschalk moved to within three seconds of Denis Krotov’s hold on second place, as the two X-raid Mini John Cooper Works Buggy drivers enjoyed another strong day in the An Nafud desert.

Fellow Mini Buggy driver Sebastien Halpern overhauled Vladimir Vasilyev’s BMW X5 to snatch fourth place, but delays in the desert dropped Spaniard Laia Sanz out of the top 10.

The decision was taken on Thursday afternoon to withdraw Yazeed Al-Rajhi’s Toyota from the event. The Saudi had lost too much time with gearbox issues to challenge for the win and early retirement was ultimately the course of action taken.

Martin Prokop continued test and development work on the 2022 specification Ford Raptor Cross-Country, while Juan Cruz Yacopini and Ronan Chabot gained more valuable time with the Overdrive Toyota Hilux T1+.

Three T4 Can-Ams now feature in the overall top 10. Poland’s Michal Goczal holds a fine seventh overall and the lead in the FIA T4 section from his brother Marek and Ukraine’s Ievgen Kovalevych in a third South Racing-built machine. Australia’s Molly Taylor dropped several minutes to her rivals on the day and slipped to fourth in T4 with Dubai-based Briton Thomas Bell in fifth.

Saleh Al-Saif extended his FIA T3 lead to 35min 17sec with another fastest time. Dania Akeel came home in an unofficial second place, but Mashael Al-Obaidan displaced Germany’s Annett Fischer to snatch second in the category. Ukbekistan’s Anvar Ergashev was forced to retire on Wednesday evening: he had endured pain 500 metres after the start of the first stage and, even though he completed the opening test, it was later discovered that he had an arm fracture...

Othman Al-Ghfeli was fastest of the motorcycle entrants on the second stage by 3min 22sec from Mishal Al-Ghuneim and the Saudi moved into a lead of 13min 47sec over his rival. Italy’s Mauro Torrini came home in third and climbed to fifth in the standings behind Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera and Ahmed Al-Jaber.

Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi maintained an unofficial advantage in the quad standings with a second stage win. Haitham Al-Tuwaijri and Hani Al-Noumesi came home in second and third places, but the result was unofficial pending any potential penalties imposed later by rally officials.

Saeed Al-Mouri was the unofficial winner of the stage in the National category in his Can-Am. The Saudi beat fellow countryman Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri by nine seconds to hold the outright lead. Aliyyah Koloc is classified in third place.

Japan’s Teruhito Sugawara (Hino) pipped Frenchman Teo Calvet to the stage win in the Truck section, but Calvet and his Czech crew of Josef Kalina and Tomas Sikola continue to lead the category in their Tatra.

Tomorrow (Friday), competitors tackle a third selective section of 249km that starts 229km from the bivouac and features passage controls after 77km, 172km and 232km. A short liaison of 47km returns teams to the bivouac in Hail.

2021 Hail Cross-Country Rally – positions after SS2 (unofficial @16.00hrs):
FIA

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Gazoo Hilux 7hr 04min 18sec
2. Denis Krotov (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy 7hr 11min 29sec
3. Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Mini John Cooper Works Buggy 7hr 11min 32sec
4. Sebastien Halpern (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy 7hr 23min 35sec
5. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Oleg Uperenko (LVA) BMW X5 7hr 24min 06sec

2022 spec T1+

1. Martin Prokop (CZE)/Viktor Chytka (CZE) Ford Raptor Cross-Country 7hr 48min 46sec
2. Juan Cruz Yacopini (ARG)/Alejandro Yacopini (ARG) Toyota Hilux Overdrive T1+ 8hr 30min 09sec
3. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive T1+ AWAITED

Motorcycles

1. Othman Al-Ghfeli (UAE) Honda CRF450 6hr 05min 49sec
2. Mishal Al-Ghuneim (SAU) Husqvarna FR450 Rally 6hr 19min 36sec
3. Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera (SAU) KTM EXC 450 6hr 26min 59sec
4. Ahmed Al-Jaber (SAU) KTM 500 EXC-F 6hr 28min 09sec
5. Mauro Torrini (ITA) KTM EXC-F 500 6hr 29min 16sec, etc

Quads

1. Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 6hr 20min 07sec
2. Haitham Al-Tujaiwri (SAU) Yamaha YFZ 450 7hr 16min 01sec
3. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 8hr 27min 11sec
4. Abdulaziz Al0-Sjayban (SAU) Yamaha YFZ 450 14hr 00min 00sec
4. Abdulaziz Al-Atawi (SAU) Yamaha YFZ 450 14hr 06min 09sec

Trucks

1. Teo Calvet (FRA)/Josef Kalina (CZE)/Tomas Sikola (CZE) Tatra Phoenix 9hr 50min 35sec
2. Teruhiro Sugawara (JPN)/Hirokazu Somemiya (JPN)/Yuji Mochizuki (JPN) Hino 600 10hr48min 02sec
3. Ibrahim Al-Muhanna (SAU)/Osama Al-Sanad (SAU)/Tariq Al-Rammah (SAU) Mercedes Unimog AWAITED

Source SAMF

Hail Cross-Country Rally 2021: Toyota's Al-Attiyah cruises into confortalble lead after opening stage in Hail

 

 

Saleh Al-Saif and Michal Goczal fastest in FIA T3 and T4 categories
Early motorcycle advantage for Anass Al-Reheyani; Al-Khulaifi leads quads

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French navigator Matthieu Baumel comfortably won the opening 258.14km selective section of the Hail Cross-Country Rally on Wednesday morning.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing duo steered their Toyota Hilux to a time of 3hr 20min 01sec and duly finished 6min 05sec in front of stage runner-up Denis Krotov. Al-Attiyah’s stage performance boosted his already overwhelming odds of clinching the FIA World Cup title and the Qatar found himself 22min 16sec ahead of Toyota team-mate and title rival Lucio Alvarez heading into the night halt in Hail.

Al-Attiyah’s co-driver Baumel said: “We started first of the T1 cars, but the T1 2022 specification cars started before us. We passed all three of them during the day and we opened the road half the way. It was not an easy stage. The first part was more navigation and off-track and the second part was faster. It was a nice day and we had a good result. We need to win two stages to get the World Cup. That is the goal for this rally.”

The X-raid Mini Buggies of Jakub Przygonski and Sebastien Halpern were third and fifth, sandwiching Vladimir Vasilyev’s BMW X3 in fourth.

“It was quite a nice stage with a lot of camel grass and it was quite soft,” said Przygonski. “We made a navigation mistake and got lost but we enjoyed it. It was nice.”

Laia Sanz adapted well to her challenge for honours in a Mini John Cooper Works Rally and was classified in sixth, with Alvarez in seventh overall and Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal holding ninth in a Ford F-150. Local hero Yazeed Al-Rajhi was on course for the second fastest time until a gearbox issue intervened and cost the Saudi 1hr 48sec to the stage-winning Al-Attiyah.

Three 2022 specification machines were permitted to tackle the event in preparation for the Dakar Rally. Martin Prokop enjoyed a useful test session in the new Ford Raptor Cross-Country and both Ronan Chabot and Juan Cruz Yacopini got to grips with the latest Overdrive Toyota Hilux T1+.

Saleh Al-Saif topped the FIA T3 section in his Can-Am, the Saudi beating Germany’s Annett Fischer to the stage win by 4min 51sec. The Saudi female duo of Mashael Al-Obaidan and Esraa Adkheil came home in third and fifth, with Ukbekistan’s Anvar Ergashev in fourth place and Dania Akeel finishing sixth.

Poland’s Michal Goczal moved into eighth overall, won the stage in the T4 section in his Can-Am and finished 9min 43sec in front of Australia’s Molly Taylor. His brother Marek Goczal was third and Ukraine’s Ievgen Kovalevych and Dubai-based Briton Thomas Bell rounded off the top five.

Anass Al-Reheyani set the unofficial fastest time in the motorcycle category and edged into a lead of 61 seconds over Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera. Othman Al-Ghfeli was an unofficial third.

Multiple Hail Rally winner Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi topped the quad standings on his Yamaha from FIM Bajas World Cup champion Haitham Al-Tuwaijri and Hani Al-Noumesi.

Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri was the unofficial leader of the National Rally in his Nissan Patrol with Czech driver Josef Machacek an unofficial second in his Buggyra Can-Am DV21. Saeed Al-Mouri was third in a Can-Am.

Frenchman Teo Calvet teamed up with the Czech duo of Josef Kalina and Tomas Sikola to set the fastest time in the Truck section in their Tatra.

Tomorrow (Thursday), competitors embark upon a second selective section of 314km through the deserts near Hail. The stage starts after a road liaison of 99km and features passage controls at 105km and 194km. A road section of 96km takes teams back to the bivouac.

2021 Hail Cross-Country Rally – positions after SS1 (unofficial @15.30hrs):
FIA

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Gazoo Hilux 3hr 20min 01sec
2. Denis Krotov (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy 3hr 26min 06sec
3. Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Mini John Cooper Works Buggy 3hr 30min 03sec
4. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Oleg Uperenko (LVA) BMW X5 3hr 30min 15sec
5. Sebastien Halpern (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy 3hr 31min 35sec

Motorcycles

1. Anass Al-Reheyani (SAU) KTM EXC 450 3hr 11min 17sec
2. Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera (SAU) KTM EXC 450 3hr 12min 18sec
3. Othman Al-Ghfeli (UAE) Honda CRF450 3hr 17min 01sec
4. Ahmed Al-Jaber (SAU) KTM 500 EXC-F 3hr 17min 18sec
5. Mishal Al-Ghuneim (SAU) Husqvarna FR450 Rally 3hr 27min 26sec, etc

Quads

1. Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 3hr 19min 09sec
2. Haitham Al-Tujaiwri (SAU) Yamaha YFZ 450 3hr 35min 36sec
3. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 4hr 22min 49sec, etc

Trucks

1. Teo Calvet (FRA)/Josef Kalina (CZE)/Tomas Sikola (CZE) Tatra 4hr 59min 38sec, etc

Source SAMF

Hail Cross-Country Rally 2021: Al-Attiyah and Alvarez go head-to-head for FIA World Cup glory in Saudi desert

 
Competitive action gets underway at the Hail Cross-Country Rally, the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, on Wednesday morning.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez both drive V8-engined Toyota Hiluxes, built in conjunction with Toyota Gazoo Racing and Overdrive Racing, and they will go head-to-head to decide the outcome of the 2021 FIA World Cup Drivers’ Championship.
To win his first FIA World Cup title, Alvarez needs to overturn a 28-point deficit. The Argentine will need to win the rally outright and score at least three additional bonus points for daily stage performances and, even then, the outcome will depend on whether Al-Attiyah finishes lower than eighth overall and fails to secure a single bonus point.

Al-Attiyah said:

“I won in Hail back in 2008 and 2011 and with Matthieu (Baumel), my current co-driver, we won the first of the Bajas last December. We will do our best to take the win again and seal the championship. We have a good car. The rally is also very useful experience for us before the Dakar Rally in January."

It’s a big ask for Alvarez, but the battle has at least confirmed that Overdrive Toyotas should fill the top two places in the points’ standings unless Russia’s Denis Krotov can seal a top four result and Alvarez fails to finish. Krotov drives an X-Raid Mini and starts the rally four points adrift of local hero Yazeed Al-Rajhi. The Saudi knows that a top finish could also see him overhaul Alvarez and snatch second place in the series.

Hoping to upset the applecart and challenge for honours in their own right are the Orlen Team’s Jakub Przygonski and Argentina’s Sebastien Halpern in their X-raid Minis and Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal in a Ford F-150. Former Spanish enduro rider Laia Sanz also joins the German X-raid team to drive a Mini John Cooper Works Rally in readiness for the Dakar challenge that awaits.

With the FIA T3 and T4 Championships already settled in favour of Spain’s Cristina Gutierrez and America’s Austin Jones, pride and pre-Dakar experience are at stake in both the hotly-contested categories.

Eight teams line up in the T3 section, with Russian Pavel Lebedev leading the way in his Can-Am and facing competition from local favourite Saleh Al-Saif, fellow Saudis, Mashael Al-Obaidan, Dania Akeel, Esra Aldkheil and Hamed Al-Harbi, Germany’s Annett Fischer and Uzbekistan’s Anvar Ergashev.

“This is a great opportunity for me to test for Dakar,” said Al-Obaidan. “This is my third race after Sharqiya and Aragón in Spain. It’s the first time that Jacopo (Cerutti), my co-driver, and I participate together. I’ve been here a couple of times but never in an official race. There are three Saudi females, including myself. The sport is really booming here. I believe there is a really bright future in the Kingdom for everyone.”

Six crews will battle it over the next four days for T4 honours. South Racing Middle East’s Thomas Bell tops the field and faces competition from Poland’s Marek and Michal Goczal, Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri, Australia’s Molly Taylor and Ukraine’s Levgen Kovalevych.

There is also a National Rally running behind the main FIA rally, a separate event for motorcycles and quads, a truck category and dispensation for several 2022 specification machines to compete with teams carrying out pre-Dakar testing.

Czech WRC star Martin Prokop wheels out the latest Ford Raptor Cross-Country, running under the Benzina Orlen Team banner, both Frenchman Ronan Chabot and Argentina’s Juan Cruz Yacopini try out Overdrive Racing’s latest Toyota Hilux T1+ and Sweden’s Sebastien Eriksson gets his hands on the latest T3-2022 South Racing Can-Am Maveric.
 
The Hail Cross-Country Rally is being organised by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) under the supervision of the Hail Regional Development Authority in co-operation with the General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage and the General Authority for Sport.

On Wedneday, competitors tackle the first of four selective sections through the Al-Nafud desert. The competitive stage starts 82.59km from Rally HQ, includes a passage control and refuelling point after 173km and runs for 258.14km. A liaison of 47.31km guides competitors back to the bivouac.

FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – driver standings:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)    92.5 pts
2. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)                        64.5pts
3. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)                    57pts
4. Denis Krotov (RUS)                         53pts
5. Mattias Ekström (SWE)                 27pts, etc

FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – co-driver standings:
1. Matthieu Baumel (FRA)                92.5 pts
2. Armand Monleón (ESP)                64.5 pts
3. Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS)            53 pts
4. Michael Orr (GBR)                          35.5 pts
5. Emil Bergvist (SWE)                        27 pts, etc                                                     

FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – T3:
1. Cristina Gutierrez (ESP)                90.5 pts   
2. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)                76.5 pts   
3. Pavel Lebedev (RUS)                      53.5 pts, etc              

FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – T4:
1. Austin Jones (USA)                         98.5pts
2=. Eugenio Amos (ITA)                     55pts
2=. Kees Koolen (NLD)                       55pts, etc

Source SAMF

 

Hail Cross-Country Rally 2021: Laia Sanz debuts in the Rally Hail with a MINI

The KH-7 rider will finalize her first participation in the Dakar Rally 2022 in the Saudi event, scoring for the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup.
She will do so at the wheel of the MINI ALL4 Racing of the Primax X-raid Team, alongside Italian motard Maurizio Gerini, who will make his debut as co-driver.

"I'm really looking forward to this last event before the Dakar. It will allow us to get used to the car, prepare details and work on communication and navigation between driver and co-driver".

Laia Sanz will make her debut this Wednesday in the Hail Rally (Saudi Arabia) with the car she will drive for the first time in the Dakar Rally. The KH-7 driver will get behind the wheel of the MINI ALL4Racing of the Primax X-raid Team with the aim of adding kilometers of competition on four wheels in the last round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, which will end on Saturday, December 11

The Spaniard, 11-time Dakar finisher on a motorcycle, will be co-driven by Italian Maurizio Gerini, with whom she has already completed several days of navigation training in recent weeks to try to get to know each other as well as possible before the big event.

The Hail Rally will be contested around the Saudi city in the northwest of the country, where the first real stage of the 2022 Dakar will also start on January 2, after the Prologue from Jeddah to Hail on January 1. The start ceremony will take place this Tuesday, after yesterday the teams passed the technical and administrative checks, a day in which Laia Sanz also took the opportunity to do a test in the dunes and test some settings before the start of the competition. The four stages that will make up the event will be held on December 8, 9, 10 and 11 over a total of 1,753 kilometers, of which 969 will be timed.

"I'm really looking forward to the Hail Rally, as it is our last event before the Dakar. It was an event that we couldn't skip, because it will allow us to get used to the car, prepare the details and adapt Maurizio and I in terms of navigation and communication between us a few weeks before our Dakar debut. The goal is not to go for any result, but to learn as much as possible, try out different car set-ups, get more comfortable at the wheel of this MINI ALL4Racing and arrive with a bit more experience on January 1st, when our key event will start", says Laia Sanz. 

The Catalan will face nearly 30 rivals in the race, including names of the caliber of Nasser Al Attiyah, the local Yazeed Al Rajhi and Vladimir Vasilyev, among others. Her MINI ALL4Racing, in the T1.1 category, will carry the number 208 on its doors.

The KH-7 rider will thus continue with an intense 2021 in which she has been proclaimed world champion in women's trials for the 14th time and world champion in women's Enduro for the sixth time, bringing to 20 the total number of world titles to her credit. Before the end of the year, she will still have to compete in the last round of the Extreme E. Previously, she has shined in her other forays on four wheels this year: she was 4th in the Baja Dubai with Lucas Cruz as co-driver at the wheel of an SSV T4 and finished 8th overall in the Rally of Andalusia with one of the 4x4s of the X-raid team. This Wednesday she will take another step to consolidate her jump to the cars when she takes the start of the first stage of the Hail Rally, which will have 258 kilometers of special stage.

Automatic translation from the official press release
Source: KH-7 Laia Sanz official press release

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