Al-Rajhi heads massive field into Riyadh Rally on Thursday

Mishal Alghuneim and Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi. (Photo/ Supplied)
Updated 27 November 2019

Al-Rajhi heads massive field into Riyadh Rally on Thursday

RIYADH: Another stunning entry of 47 cars, 14 NUTVs, one truck, 24 motorcycles and 21 quads will line up at the start of the Riyadh Rally, the fourth round of the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship, which starts in Ad Diriyah on Thursday afternoon.

 Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi heads the car field in his Toyota Hilux, the winner of the recent AlUla-Neom Cross-Country Rally keen to hunt down current series leader Yasir Seaidan. The latter has a four-point series lead and has switched from a MINI All4 Racing to one of X-raid’s latest MINI JCW Buggies for the two days of desert action around Rumah and the Saad National Park.

While the two Saudi adversaries lock horns in the fight for the inaugural Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship title, competition will come from French legend Stéphane Peterhansel in a second X-raid Buggy, Essa Al-Dossari in an ED Racing Nissan Navara and the experienced Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal in his self-designed Ford F-150 Evo.

 Saudi drivers dominate the car category in various Toyota and Nissan derivatives, while Ahmed Al-Shegawi tops the T2 category for series production cross-country vehicles and faces competition from the likes of Salman Al-Shammeri, Yousef Al-Suwaidi and Muteb Al-Shammeri.

 Saleh Al-Saif will be hoping to prevail in the T3 category with his Can-Am Maverick X3, while Yousef Al-Dhaif, Majed Al-Tuwaijri and Fahad Al-Naim top the 14-strong NUTV section.

HIGHLIGHT

  • An interesting name appearing on the entry list in the Kingdom for the first time is that of Dutch navigator Wouter Rosegaar (the former co-driver for Erik van Loon), who sits alongside the talented young Saudi driver Saleh Al-Abdulaali in a powerful T1 Hummer.

Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abo Theeb continue their pre-Dakar preparations in a Mercedes truck entered in the T4 category.

An interesting name appearing on the entry list in the Kingdom for the first time is that of Dutch navigator Wouter Rosegaar (the former co-driver for Erik van Loon), who sits alongside the talented young Saudi driver Saleh Al-Abdulaali in a powerful T1 Hummer.

 KTM rider Mishal Alghuneim has already confirmed his entry into January’s Dakar Rally and Saudi Arabia’s leading rider tops the 24-strong motorcycle category. Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi returns to Saudi action after missing the third round of the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship and is joined by his brother Sultan Al-Balooshi, Emirati Abdullah bin Dakhan and four additional UAE riders. Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Shatti is also present.

Yamaha’s Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi will also tackle his first Dakar at the start of 2020 and the current leader of the quad category in the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship heads a field of 21 riders that also includes Walid Al-Shegawi and Abdulaziz Al-Shayban.

 The event is organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and supervision of former FIA Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab.

 It runs with the support of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, the General Sport Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group, Al-Arabia outdoors and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.

 The official ceremonial start will take place on Thursday in Diriyah from 15:40hrs and precedes the opening 4km Toyota Super Special stage, starting at 15:45hrs.

 


Tiger Woods-led US golfers deny Els’ dream to win Presidents Cup

Updated 15 December 2019

Tiger Woods-led US golfers deny Els’ dream to win Presidents Cup

  • Crushing loss for Ernie Els’ young Internationals who led for the first three days
  • Tiger Woods becomes the most successful Presidents Cup golfer in history

MELBOURNE: Tiger Woods’ United States produced a stunning turnaround to deny the Internationals a first Presidents Cup in 21 years Sunday, dominating the singles on a tense final day that went to the wire at Royal Melbourne.
Veteran Matt Kuchar was the hero, with his winning putt on the 17th in the penultimate match enough to ensure victory, sparking wild celebrations from playing-captain Woods, who set the tone by getting the first point on the board.
It was a crushing loss for Ernie Els’ young Internationals who led for the first three days of the biennial match play event but failed to deliver the killer blow against a more experienced and accomplished US team.
They went into the 12 singles matches with a 10-8 lead but the tide began quickly turning with Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson among those racing to big early leads with the scoreboard swathed in US red.
When Webb Simpson beat South Korea’s An Byeong-hun, the US went 15-12 in front and needed just half a point with the Internationals leading in two of three matches still in play.
Australian Cameron Smith grabbed one more point by beating Justin Thomas, ensuring a nailbiting finale with Kuchar’s heroics on 17 ensuring there was no way back Els’ team.
“I trusted all my 11 guys. I trusted them implicitly. I told them from the very get go. They went out there and got the points we needed. We fought,” said Woods.
“Even the points we lost, we were making them earn every one of them, and this Cup wasn’t going to be given to us. We had to go earn it, and we did.”
It was a remarkable comeback. No side before had rallied to win on the last day after trailing for three days, further cementing the reputation of Woods, who went undefeated in his three matches.
US President Donald Trump, an avid golf fan, immediately paid tribute on social media.
“Congratulations to Tiger and the entire US Team on a great comeback and tremendous WIN. True Champions!” he tweeted.
The playing-captain, in his ninth Presidents Cup, set the tone from the front, going out first in the singles and winning 3 and 2 against battling Mexican Abraham Ancer.
In doing so he passed Phil Mickelson to become the most successful Presidents Cup golfer in history with a 27-win, 15-loss and 1-tied record to his countryman’s 26-16-13.
It was the United States’ 11th victory in 13 editions of the event. One was drawn with the lone International win coming in 1998, also at Royal Melbourne.
Woods nailed a birdie on the second after a stunning approach shot to take an early lead and although Ancer fought back, Woods’ putter was running hot and he was two up through 10.
The 15-time major winner was striding around Royal Melbourne on a mission and nailed a monster putt on the 16th for the 3 and 2 win.
At one stage the Americans were ahead in nine matches, and world number five Johnson ensured a second point, crushing Li Haotong 4 and 3.
It ended a difficult first Presidents Cup for a Chinese player who was overlooked for the opening two days and never looked at ease.
Patrick Reed’s caddie was banned after shoving a fan on Saturday as tensions boiled over after the controversial American’s penalty for improving his lie in the Bahamas last week.
The former Masters champion turned to his swing coach to carry his bag and it worked wonders as raced six up through seven against Taiwan’s CT Pan in a scintillating display in front of taunting fans.
Pan woke up and won three in a row but it was in vain with the American winning 4 and 2.
The US were on a roll with Tony Finau earning a valuable half point against Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who looked to be on track for a win after going four clear through 10.
South Korea’s Im Sung-jae was a bright spot. Despite being just 21, the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year again showed his huge potential by comfortably beating US Open champion Gary Woodland.