• Al Rajhi and Al Mutaiwei finish special stage one in third and sixth positions respectively
• Kuznetsov completes the team result by coming ninth
In the first special stage of Qatar’s Sealine Cross Country Rally, all the three Team X-raid vehicles made it to the top 10. The fastest pairing, Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and Filipe Palmeiro (POR), took their MINI ALL4 Racing to third place. Three positions behind them, Khalifa Al Mutaiwei (UAE) and his navigator Andreas Schulz (GER) in the team’s second MINI ALL4 Racing came sixth. While the Russians Ilya Kuznetsov and Roman Elagin finished ninth, with their BMW X3 CC.
Despite having finished third in yesterday’s ‘Super Special’, Al Rajhi had to start into today’s 330.51-kilometre leg from eighth position as the seven drivers battling for FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup points were granted the positions at the front end of the field at the start. At the first checkpoint, however, Al Rajhi had already worked his way up to third and although his MINI ALL4 Racing suffered two punctures, later on, he succeeded in defending this position until having crossed the finish line. In the overall standings, he holds second position behind Nasser Al Attiyah.
Al Mutaiwei from Dubai also was hampered by a puncture but afterwards, he worked his way back up to finish sixth, with his MINI ALL4 Racing. The third Team X-raid vehicle, the BMW X3 CC of Kuznetsov, had started into the leg from 12th position. The Russian opted for starting the first special stage with a somewhat conservative approach but gained time from checkpoint to checkpoint, none them less, and in the end, he finished ninth.
Result leg 1:
1st N. S. Al-Attiyah (QAT)/L. Cruz Senra (ESP) Toyota Hilux – 3h 03m 23s
2nd L. Alvarez (ARG)/B. Graue (ARG) Toyota Hilux – 3h 14m 07s
3rd Y. Al-Rajhi (KSA)/F. Palmeiro (PRT) MINI ALL4 Racing – 3h 14m 22s
4th F. Al-Attiyah (QAT)/M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota HiLux – 3h 19m 53s
5th J.-L. Schlesser (FRA)/K. Zlitstov (RUS) Schlesser Original – 3h 21m 35s
6th K. Al-Mutaiwei (UAE)/A. Schulz (DEU) MINI ALL4 Racing – 3h 23m 31s
9th I. Kusnetsov (RUS)/R. Elagin (RUS) BMW X3 CC – 3h 43m 28s