Ground breaking Rally Jeddah victory for Qatar's Adel Hussein Abdulla

Ground breaking Rally Jeddah victory for Qatar's Adel Hussein Abdulla

18.11.2016: • Former Ha’il winner Al-Muhanna finishes second; T2 winner Al-Salmani in third • Saleh Al-Abdulali crashes Al-Rajhi’s Hummer

•         Former Ha’il winner Al-Muhanna finishes second; T2 winner Al-Salmani in third

•         Saleh Al-Abdulali crashes Al-Rajhi’s Hummer; Rajah Farhan rolls out of event

Qatar’s Adel Hussein Abdulla took advantage of his experience in this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies to seal a convincing victory – the biggest of his career - in the two-day Rally Jeddah that finished in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s western deserts on Friday evening.

The Nissan Patrol driver and his French navigator Sébastien Delaunay stayed out of trouble and kept to the challenging route to finish 10min 49sec in front of the experienced local driver Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, also driving a Nissan.

The two drivers were the class of the 31-car field, where only three cars retired but all but three teams received heavy time penalties for route violations.

“It was a very difficult and challenging rally and probably more difficult than some of the rounds of this year’s FIA World Cup,” said Adel Hussein Abdulla.

“It was never easy to see the defined tracks and it was a big ask. I am so happy to take the win with Sébastien. There was a strong entry here, with many local drivers.”

Last year’s T2 winner Monef Al-Salmani retained his crown by finishing third, Saudi driver Ahmed Al-Shegawi and Emirati navigator Arif Yousef Mohammed were fourth and Mohammed Al-Saeri rounded off the unofficial top five with co-driver Zian Al-Harbi.

The UAE’s Atif Al-Zarouni recovered well from his super special problems on Thursday evening to finish ninth overall and first in T3. Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thafiri was second in T3 and 15th overall, while overnight leader Khalid Al-Mohannadi finished 23rd and third in the category.

Abu Dhabi-based Lebanese driver Emil Khneisser was one of the retirements, while Saleh Al-Abdulali also blotted his copybook by badly damaging Yazeed Al-Rajhi’s Hummer in a crash.

Rajah Farhan Al-Shammeri was the third retirement after the Saudi rolled heavily without injury to himself or navigator Mubarak Farhan Al-Shammeri.

In the absence of the firm favourite Yazeed Al-Rajhi, this was the most open of any of the Saudi rallies since Farhab Ghaleb Al-Shammeri won the Ha’il FIA candidate event back in 2006.

All 31 cars began the 220km selective section through the western deserts and the UAE’s Atif Al-Zarouni rejoined the fray with a 10-minute penalty after stopping his Buggy on Thursday evening’s super special stage.

Qatar’s Khaled Al-Mohannadi headed into the desert with a 14.5-second advantage over fellow countryman Adel Hussein Abdulla, but overnight T2 leader Emil Khneisser was first on the road and into the stage.

According to the results, Fares Al-Shammeri was the first driver to cross the finish line in a time of 3hr 24min 21sec. The Saudi had been seventh overall at the night halt in his Nissan Patrol, but he didn’t have to wait long to realise he had been beaten by Yayha Halwa of the Haras Al-Hadod Rally Team as darkness descended at the stage finish control that had attracted large numbers of spectators.

 Both drivers were soon given penalties for missing route waypoints and Adel Hussein Abdulla was the main beneficiary and snatched the unofficial virtual lead. Time penalties were handed out to the majority of drivers and Adel Hussein weathered the storm to confirm the victory from former Ha’il winner Ibrahim Al-Muhanna.

This year’s event was again supported by Mohamed Yousef Naghi Motors (MYN Motors) – Land Rover - and the MBC Group, Al-Arabia, Al-Madina and Total Oils.

Rally Jeddah was organised by the Jeddah Government and Abdullah S. Bakhashab Establishment under the supervision of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) and the patronage of H.R.H. Prince Mishaal Bin Majid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

- Neil Perkins also photos


18.11.2016 / MaP

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