Sealine Rally: Yazeed Al-Rajhi finishes second


Today, on the final day of Qatar’s Sealine Cross Country Rally, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) crossed the finish line as stage winners and finished second behind Nasser Al-Attiyah in the overall rankings. Right behind them, the Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov finished third in round three of the 2016 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. Meanwhile, German pairing Jutta Kleinschmidt / Philipp Beier in the buggy also delivered in really fine style to finish fifth in the rally. Ricardo Porém (POR) and Tom Colsoul (BEL), however, dropped back to seventh on the final day of the event.

Throughout the rally Al-Rajhi gave local hero Al-Attiyah a really hard time but on the rocky roads, tyre damages and the following tyre changes cost him time again and again. With 84 points on his tally, he also holds the second position in the world cup standings. “We are happy with our achievements”, says Al-Rajhi. “We pushed at the start until we catch Nasser. The rally was extremely exhausting – for drivers and co-drivers. The stages were extremely challenging for the drivers and the navigators had to be fully focused and perfectly prepared throughout the event. We found a good speed right from the start and could win the final stage, thus demonstrating what is possible.”

Vasilyev also had his problem with rocks and tyres. “There is nothing you really can do against it,” said Vasilyev. “There are so many partly rather big rocks and they all can cause tyre damages. Furthermore, the navigation was extremely difficult.” In four of the five stages the Russian finished third and so, he also secured this position in the overall rankings. The Russian now has got 53 points on his tally and moved up to third position in the championship.

Porém held a top-five position for a long time but on the final day he got stuck and needed a long time before he got going again. A damaged tyre cost him additional time and so, he dropped back to seventh in the overall rankings. The buggy impressed with a very consistent performance, in Qatar. Kleinschmidt made it to the top 10 in every stage although she and her co-driver Beier also had to stop every now and then for changing a damaged tyre. „It was a lot of fun, but also challenging, quite different and the stages had the perfect length“, Kleinschmidt revealed in the finish. „It was great to be in the buggy again, but there is still some work to do.“