BURAIDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Ulster co-driver Michael Orr held an advantage of 8.5 seconds after the opening timed 3.55km super special stage of Rally Qassim 2019, the second round of the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship, on Thursday afternoon.
Organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), 56 cars, one truck, 13 motorcycles and seven quads were eventually flagged away from the start in Buraidah by Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the SAMF.
Driving an older specification Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux, Al-Rajhi posted a time of 2min 58.2sec to hold the advantage over second-placed Yasir Seaidan’s X–raid built MINI All4 Racing and third-placed Sami Al-Gafari in the car category.
Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi carded a time of 3min 17sec and held 10th place in his Peugeot 2008, despite feeling unwell and running a temperature.
Ahmed Al-Shegawi and Russian navigator Alexei Kuzmich led the T2 section in their Toyota Land Cruiser from closest rival Reda Al-Shammeri.
Al-Gafari topped a competitive T3 category at the wheel of his Can-Am Maverick X3 and held a fine third overall, with Saleh Al-Saif and Yousef Al-Dhaif tied in fifth overall and equal second in T3, a mere 0.3 seconds behind their fellow Saudi.
UAE rider Mohammed Al-Balooshi topped the standings on two wheels on his KTM 450 Rally with a time of 3min 14.8sec, while the leading quad runner was multiple Ha’il International Rally winner Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi. He had got the competitive action underway on his Yamaha and finished the stage 4.8 seconds quicker than fellow Saudi Sufyan Al-Omar.
Rally Qassim 2019 is running with the support of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, the General Sport Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group and Al-Arabia.
Two desert selective sections at Umm Sidrah and Al-Shamasiya make up the real meat of the desert off-road action on Friday and Saturday before the finishing ceremony starts at 18:10hrs on Saturday evening.
Rally Qassim 2019 positions after SSS (cars unofficial):
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Michael Orr (GBR) Toyota Hilux Overdrive — 2min 58.2sec
2. Yasir Seaidan (SAU)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) MINI All4 Racing — 3min 06.7sec
3. Sami Al-Gafari (SAU)/Ibrahim Al-Mohammed (SAU) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3 — 3min 10.8sec
4. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SVK) Ford F-150 Evo — 3min 11.0sec
5. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/Muath Al-Arja (SAU) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) — 3min 11.1sec
5. Yousef Al-Dhaif (SAU)/Pedro Santos (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) — 3min 11.1sec
7. Khalil Al-Tuwaijri (SAU)/Waleed Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) — 3min 13.8sec
8. Essa Al-Dossari (SAU)/Sebastien Delaunay (FRA) Nissan Navara — 3min 14.3sec
9. Haytham Al-Tuwaijri (SAU)/Rakan Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) — 3min 14.4sec
10. Khalid Al-Qassimi (ARE)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Peugeot 2008 — 3min 17.0sec
10. Majed Al-Twijri (SAU)/Ayman Al-Khurayef (SAU) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) — 3min 17.0sec