Al-Dossari stakes claim with fourth-fastest Riyadh Rally time

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Yasir Seaidan brought his MINI JCW Buggy home in third place and maintained the pressure on his rival. (Photo/Supplied)
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Yasir Seaidan brought his MINI JCW Buggy home in third place and maintained the pressure on his rival. (Photo/Supplied)
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Yasir Seaidan brought his MINI JCW Buggy home in third place and maintained the pressure on his rival. (Photo/Supplied)
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Yasir Seaidan brought his MINI JCW Buggy home in third place and maintained the pressure on his rival. (Photo/Supplied)
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Yasir Seaidan brought his MINI JCW Buggy home in third place and maintained the pressure on his rival. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 01 December 2019

Al-Dossari stakes claim with fourth-fastest Riyadh Rally time

  • Abu Dhabi veteran Al-Balooshi storms through to win motorcycle category

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi ceded eight seconds to French rival Stephane Peterhansel on the third 160 km selective section of the Riyadh Rally, but held on to guide his Toyota Hilux to victory and the outright lead in the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship on Saturday.

Peterhansel and stand-in Portuguese co-pilot Paulo Fuiza won the special in their X-raid Mini JCW Buggy to finish the event just 46 seconds behind the local driver and his Ulster co-driver Michael Orr in what was a useful Dakar Rally shakedown for the 13-time winner of the world’s most challenging off-road rally.

Yasir Seaidan completed the last competitive section through the dunes and sandy wastelands of the Saad National Park 45 seconds behind Al-Rajhi in the second of the Mini JCW Buggies and maintained the pressure on his rival in the championship with the final place on the podium. 

ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari enjoyed a strong finish to the event with the fourth-fastest time in his Nissan Navara to secure a similar position in the overall standings.

Czech Miroslav Zapletal rounded off the top five in his Ford F-150 Evo after dropping time to the leading quartet in the last timed section.

Mutair Al-Shammeri brought his Nissan home in a distant sixth place and Faris Al-Moshna Al-Shammeri, Sami and Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri and Khalid Al-Feraihi rounded off the top 10. 

Salman Al-Shammeri finished in 14th overall and won the T2 category for series-production cross-country vehicles by 12 minutes, 37 seconds in his Nissan.

Yousef Al-Suwaidi snatched the runner-up spot from Farhan Al-Muharib with the second-quickest time on the last day.

Yousef Al-Dhaif managed to overhaul Saleh Al-Saif to snatch victory in the NUTV category in his Can-Am. Partnered by French navigator Laurent Lichtleuchter, the Saudi took advantage of serious delays for his rival to pip Majed Al-Tuwaijri to the win.

Khalil Al-Tuwaijri made it a Can-Am 1-2-3 with third place. Shaker Al-Tuwaijri was the sole representative in the official T3 section with his Can-Am.

Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi stormed through to win the motorcycle category on his KTM, the experienced veteran of numerous regional and international cross-country events following up his success at the recent Rally Qassim and Jordan Baja with a winning margin of 2 minutes, 11 seconds over his brother Sultan.

Friday’s leader Mishal Alghuneim lost out on the win after opening the road and the Saudi slipped to third place, while the stage win helped Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Shatti secure fourth. Local rider Hashyan Al-Hashyan and Kiwi Philip Wilson rounded off the top six.

Sufyan Al-Omar claimed the stage win to secure a comfortable success in the quad category.

The Saudi headed a Yamaha 1-2-3 with Abdulrahman Alaglaa and Abdulaziz Al-Shayban filling the other podium places.

Sultan Al-Masoud retired, but pre-event favorite Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi recovered from his previous day’s woes to set the second quickest time on the last stage.

The Saudi trio of Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abo Theeb were running at the rear of the field in their Mercedes truck entered in the T4 category.

The event was 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 ran 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.


WWE’s John Morrison ready to rumble at Riyadh Super ShowDown

Updated 24 February 2020

WWE’s John Morrison ready to rumble at Riyadh Super ShowDown

  • Alongside The Miz, John Morrison will take on The New Day in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
  • John Morrison: ‘Kofi and Big E (The New Day) are no joke. They are individually talented and together they are very dangerous’

DUBAI: John Morrison’s journey to Thursday night’s WWE Super ShowDown in Riyadh has been anything but straightforward.

The Los Angeles native first joined WWE just over 15 years ago, before leaving in 2011 to join the independent wrestling circuit and Mexico’s Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, then returned to the organization in December 2019.

This week, alongside The Miz, he will take on The New Day in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match. It will be his first appearance in the Kingdom.

“I’m ridiculously excited to be in Saudi Arabia, but this is the most important match since my return to WWE,” Morrison said.

“Kofi and Big E (The New Day) are no joke. They are individually talented and together they are very dangerous. For The Miz and I to beat them requires 100 percent focus and for us to be on top of our game. That’s what I’m planning on doing.”

Over the last year, Saudi Arabia has hosted two WWE events, Super ShowDown in Jeddah and Crown Jewel in Riyadh. Morrison and his fellow wrestlers are increasingly aware of WWE’s popularity in the Kingdom and across the Middle East.

“An event like Super ShowDown is something that families can go to and really feel the electricity and excitement of WWE,” he said.  

“When I was growing up watching WrestleMania and going to see WWE Live events as a kid with my dad and my friends, that’s part of the reason why I fell in love with wrestling and why I do it today. A show like Super ShowDown has the power to capture the imagination of people.”

Looking forward to Thursday, the 40-year-old wrestler points out that preparing for a tag team bout is different to an individual battle.

“The main difference is that there are more people involved so there are more things that could go right or go wrong,” said Morrison.

“The preparation physically is very similar, but mentally there is a lot more strategizing and scheming that The Miz and I need to do.”

With weekly WWE events taking place in America, how exciting is it for the wrestlers to take the shows on the road and perform in different countries?

“Doing shows outside the US is so important. It is why we are called World Wrestling Entertainment,” Morrison said. “It is also a real bonding experience for the roster to travel together. I’m looking forward to spending time with everybody on this trip. The card we have for Super ShowDown is like a WrestleMania card. The people taking part are stars. These are matches you might never even see in the US.”

Having got his big break by winning the third edition of WWE Tough Enough, a reality television series by WWE, Morrison knows how hard it is to compete against aspiring wrestlers. 

In June, WWE will hold a talent tryout in Riyadh, and he has a word of advice for the Saudi hopefuls.

“It is an incredible opportunity and the best advice I have for people looking to take part in the tryout is to level yourself up physically and mentally, understand the business in every aspect that you can, and when you get there you’ll have nothing to worry about.”  

They already have the perfect role model.

WWE’s first-ever Saudi member, Mansoor, has graduated from being a tryout hopeful in 2018 to winner at the 51-man Battle Royal at the 2019 Super ShowDown in Jeddah last February, and beating wrestling legend Cesaro at Crown Jewel in Riyadh on Oct. 31 to the delight of his hometown crowd.

Morrison himself is looking forward to being inspired by the local audience.

“This is going to be my first time in Saudi Arabia, in front of a Saudi crowd, and I’m beyond excited to experience the country and the people. I want to feel the energy.”