Al-Rajhi trims Seaidan’s lead in AlUla–Neom Cross-Country Rally to set up final day

Saudi driver Yasir Seaidan saw his lead in the AlUla–Neom Cross-Country Rally trimmed on Friday morning’s penultimate competitive section. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 08 November 2019

Al-Rajhi trims Seaidan’s lead in AlUla–Neom Cross-Country Rally to set up final day

  • Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship attracts fierce competition across all categories

ALULA: Saudi driver Yasir Seaidan saw his lead in the AlUla–Neom Cross-Country Rally trimmed to just 1 minute 14 seconds on Friday morning’s penultimate competitive section, as the stage-winning Yazeed Al-Rajhi set up the prospect of a thrilling finale on Saturday.

Leading by 2min 52sec at the night halt in AlUla, MINI All4 driver Seaidan and French co-driver François Cazalet sustained a puncture in the first 30km but went on to clock the second quickest time on the penultimate 231km timed section from Al Ula to the new city of Neom on a route that passed through the village of Abu Gazaz.

At the helm of a Toyota Hilux, Al-Rajhi and Russian navigator Konstantin Zhiltsov also survived two punctures and recorded a time of 1hr 31min 55sec.

The Spanish pairing of Formula One star Fernando Alonso and Marc Coma continued their rapid progression with a best stage performance thus far, Alonso clocking the third quickest time of 1hr 33min 50sec to close the gap on Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Xavier Panseri to 6min 22sec in the battle for the final slot on the podium.

Abu Dhabi Racing’s Al-Qassimi was concerned by a down-on-power engine and was waiting for his engineer to assess any damage before he made a decision as to whether to continue into the final day.

The new Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship has attracted fierce competition across all categories. ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossary continued to trade times with Czech rival Miroslav Zapletal and the Nissan Navara driver regained fifth in the overall classification by beating the Ford F-150 Evo by 65 seconds.

Saudi Arabia’s Khalid Al-Feraihi and French navigator Stephane Duple maintained seventh overall in a Nissan Patrol. 

Mutair Al-Shammeri was eighth and Mohammed Al-Tijiwri and Faris Al-Shammeri rounded off the top 10, the latter setting the eighth fastest time with Jordanian co-driver Musa Djiyerian to continue a rapid climb through the field.

Salman Al-Shammeri held 11th overall and saw his TL2 category advantage over Sallal Al-Dossari increase to five minutes. 

Yousef Al-Suwaidi was classified in 15th and led the T2 section for series production cross-country vehicles. Saleh Al-Saif dropped time in terms of the overall leader board but stayed on course for the TL3 section win.

Local driver Yousef Al-Dhaif and French co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter continued to dominate the NUTV class in their Can-Am Maverick X3 from Majed Al-Tiwijri. 

Mubarak Al-Zubaidi (Toyota) and Ahmed Al-Qashimi (Nissan) retired from the T1 class and joined ED Racing’s Abdullah Al-Huraiz, who did not start the day’s stage.

KTM rider Mishal Alghuneim maintained full control of the motorcycle category, although Abdullah Al-Helal did return to competition on Friday morning after incurring massive time penalties on Thursday. Yamaha’s Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi won a third successive stage in the quad category to increase his lead over closest rival Riyadh Al-Orafan to 56min 30sec.

The final selective section of 175km loops through the deserts around Neom in the northwest of Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning.


Bayern Munich with one hand on Bundesliga title after 1-0 win at Dortmund

Updated 26 May 2020

Bayern Munich with one hand on Bundesliga title after 1-0 win at Dortmund

  • Kimmich sent a perfectly-weighted chip over stranded keeper Roman Buerki

DORTMUND: Joshua Kimmich’s sweet first-half lob gave leaders Bayern Munich a 1-0 win at second-placed Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Tuesday to close in on the league title with a seven-point advantage over their rivals and six games left in the season.
Kimmich sent a perfectly-weighted chip over stranded keeper Roman Buerki in the 43rd minute as the champions landed a big win, at an empty stadium that normally seats 80,000 fans, in their quest for a record-extending eighth straight league crown.
Bayern, who have now won seven straight league matches, are on 64 points with Dortmund still on 57. RB Leipzig, who face Hertha Berlin on Wednesday, are third with 54.
The Bundesliga became the first major league to restart 10 days ago after a break of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with games played without supporters to reduce the risk of infection.
It all started well for hosts Dortmund, who were on a six-game winning streak going into the match, with teenage sensation Erling Haaland almost scoring in the opening seconds as Bayern’s Jerome Boateng had to clear the ball off the line.
The visitors gradually found their footing and had their own effort cleared off the line when Dortmund defender Lukasz Piszczek denied Serge Gnabry from five meters.
In a fluid and entertaining first half Norway international Haaland should have done better when he was sent through in the 33rd minute with Alphonso Davies stealing the ball away.
It was Kimmich’s delightful effort that settled the game when he spotted Buerki off his line and superbly chipped the ball from the edge of the box over the keeper.
Bayern stayed in control after the break and an injury meant Dortmund lost Haaland, who earlier had another effort deflected wide by Boateng’s elbow, with 18 minutes left.
Dortmund’s Mo Dahoud tried his luck from outside the box but visiting keeper Manuel Neuer, on his 400th league appearance, managed to preserve his clean sheet before team mate Robert Lewandowski hit the post in the 83rd for Bayern.