- Khalifa Al Mutaiwei and Andreas Schulz are now officially the World Cup winners 2012
- The fifth consecutive FIA World Cup title with a vehicle of X-raid
The Baja Portalegre in Portugal was the final round of the 2012 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and now, it’s official: Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei (UAE) won the title! Al Mutaiwei and his German co-driver Andreas Schulz didn’t contest the event, with their X-raid MINI ALL4 Racing, but in the previous rallies, the pairing extended the lead over their opponents to an extent that nobody was able to close the gap, in the final round. Meanwhile, Russian pairing Vladimir Vasiliev / Vitaliy Yevtyekho raced their first rally with the MINI ALL4 Racing, in Portugal. But unfortunately, they were forced into retirement, in the final special stage.
For X-raid, it was the fifth consecutive FIA title triumph. Since 2008, the Trebur based squad has prevailed in this series in every single year. X-raid celebrated their first FIA World Cup triumph back in 2004 – courtesy of Khalifa Al Mutaiwei, at the wheel of a BMW X5. And now, eight years later, the rally ace from Dubai secured his second World Cup title.
The last step on the way to this success was the win Al Mutaiwei secured with the MINI ALL4 Racing entered by the Fazza Rally Team in the rally in Egypt. There, his toughest rival in the battle for the title, Jean-Louis Schlesser, was disqualified following the fourth special stage – and consequently, Al Mutaiwei could extend his championship lead to 69 points – and in the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup season final, the Baja Portalegre in Portugal, the winner could score a maximum of just 30 points. In this World Cup season, Al Mutaiwei convinced in particular with his consistency. He succeeded in making it to the points in every single hat round while all his opponents had to leave several rally venues empty-handed.
“This success of Khalifa is something very special,” said X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt. “Back in 2004 we jointly secured X-raid’s the first FIA title and afterwards, Khalifa retired from the sport for a long time. But now, in his comeback season, he was able to match the pace of the front-runners right away. And his consistency proved to be vital on his way to securing the title.”