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.
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):
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
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
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