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Al Attiyah opens up comfortable lead in Qatar Cross Country Rally

Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah

Bengaluru/Doha, February 24: Local hero Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and his French navigator Matthieu Baumel opened up a comfortable lead of 5min 50sec after the opening 171.25km selective section of the Qatar Cross-Country Rally, the opening round of FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

Six-time event winner Al Attiyah led the day's stage from start-to-finish in his Toyota Hilux.

The ace Qatari had edged 27.2sec in front of Al Rajhi by the first checkpoint and gradually pulled away from his rival to reach the finish of the stage, south of Doha, with an impressive advantage.

The second leg on Monday (February 24) includes three passages controls on the Al Zubara and Al Jumailah roads and the Dukhan highway and finishes 92.44km from Losail.

Never eay

Never eay

The three-time Dakar champion was thrilled with his opening day display.

"It's never easy because the road is really difficult from the beginning. We didn't make any mistakes, except one flat tyre, and then we need to manage without any mistakes and without getting lost. We've a good pace. Tomorrow is a long stage. Always in Qatar we've flat tyres but we try to manage with a good speed," said Al Attiyah.

Al Rajhi second

Al Rajhi second

Al Rajhi and Ulster co-driver Michael Orr finished the day in a solid second place in the second of the Toyotas, despite losing their way for a short time between 98km and 101km of the stage.

Al Rajhi said: "We've one puncture today, after 120km, and we had no brakes before the finish for 40km."

Jakub in the mix

Jakub in the mix

Poland's Jakub Przygonski marked his first competitive appearance with the Overdrive Racing team with a third quickest time alongside German team-mate Timo Gottschalk.

Jakub stopped for a short time on the run in to the finish and reached Lusail 10min 47sec behind the leader.

National Baja

National Baja

Day one also included the first of three rounds of the Qatar National Baja with the entire day's route counting as a scoring round of the five-event series. Twenty-one vehicles were eligible for championship points and victory on the day fell easily to Khalid Al Mohannadi.

The second leg is more demanding and includes a competitive section of 334.25km. The timed action starts off the Al Shamal highway and winds its way along the north-eastern coast and across the northern deserts to finish off the Al Kharsaah road.

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Story first published: Monday, February 24, 2020, 11:07 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 24, 2020
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