Yazeed Al-Rajhi leads after super special stage of Rally Qassim 2019

Yazeed Al-Rajhi at the start of the Rally Qassim 2019 on Thursday. Al-Rajhi leads the event after the super special stage. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 18 October 2019

Yazeed Al-Rajhi leads after super special stage of Rally Qassim 2019

  • The Saudi ace in an Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux leads Yasir Seaidan by 8.5 seconds

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


Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

Updated 17 November 2019

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

  • World Cup semifinalists ‘still have room for improvement as they chase first major title since 1966’

PRISTINA:  Gareth Southgate is set to bring Raheem Sterling back from his brief England exile in Sunday’s qualifier against Kosovo as he seeks to end the controversy over the Manchester City star’s row with Joe Gomez.

Sterling was dropped for Thursday’s 7-0 rout of Montenegro after clashing with England team-mate Gomez in the Three Lions’ training base canteen.

It is believed Sterling was unhappy with Gomez following an altercation with the Liverpool defender during City’s Premier League defeat at Anfield last weekend.

Although Sterling was left out of the Montenegro game as punishment for his attack on Gomez, Southgate has confirmed the winger will return for England’s final Group A fixture.

Sterling and Gomez, left with a scratch under his eye after the incident, are said to have patched up their relationship, but the center-back was jeered by England fans at Wembley when he came on as a substitute against Montenegro.

Both Southgate and Sterling expressed their support for Gomez and criticized the booing supporters, with the England manager reportedly comforting the shocked 22-year-old and his family after the match.

Now Southgate could include Gomez against Kosovo in a show of support for the Liverpool player.

With England already guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2020 in first place in their group, Southgate already planned to make changes, although he is keen to ensure England finish with a win as they eye a top-six seeding in next year’s tournament.

“We will make some changes, for sure, but the seeding in the group could be critical and we know it’s a big night for the Kosovans,” Southgate said.

“It’s a shame for them that they’re now out of this part of the qualification, although they’ve still got the playoffs in which I think they’ll be a huge threat in that format. “So, it will be a good test for us because it will still be a lively environment.

“The enthusiasm for the game is high and we want to finish the group with as many points as we can.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson could return following a one-match ban, while Southgate has to decide whether to keep faith with Ben Chilwell ahead of Danny Rose at left-back.

Harry Kane may have scored a hat-trick against Montenegro but it was Leicester’s Chilwell who was named England’s man of the match following a fine display in which he provided three assists in the opening 24 minutes.

“Ben, I liked the hunger in his game, the enthusiasm to get forward,” Southgate said.

“The whole team pressed well but he also pressed well from that full-back position, got into overlaps, his quality of delivery was excellent.”

Although England have cruised through their qualifying group, Southgate believes the 2018 World Cup semifinalists still have room for improvement as they chase a first major title since 1966.

“There were a couple of chances we conceded that just shouldn’t happen, so that’s still part of our game that we’ve got to improve upon,” he said.

“If we are to be a team that are going to challenge seriously, although we’re young, we’ve got to manage games well.

“We’ve got to make sure that, although we’re such a fantastic attacking threat, the rest of the team is right as well. There are things we’ve got to be better at.”