Nasser Al-Attiyah performs during Sealine Cross Country Rally 2015 in Qatar on April 23, 2015
A challenging Sealine Cross-Country Rally course in Qatar has been conquered by the Red Bull Desert Wings squad with victories secured in both the bike and car races. Five-time Dakar Rally winner Marc Coma was the quickest man on two wheels while double Dakar champion Nasser Al-Attiyah took the car race honours in his native Qatar.
There’s no sign of Red Bull KTM Factory Team captain Marc Coma slowing down anytime soon. The newly crowned Sealine Rally champ put down an early marker during the first timed special stage as he set the fastest time of the day. After getting his nose in front the six-time FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship winner tightened his grip on top spot over the remaining four days of the race. The fact that Coma is now celebrating his third win at the Sealine Rally following the fourth edition of the race goes someway to demonstrating his dominance over the sport in recent years.
Marc Coma celebrates during Sealine Cross Country Rally 2015 in Qatar on April 24, 2015
Defending Sealine Rally champion Joan ‘Bang Bang’ Barreda came closest to nudging Coma off the top of the podium. The Team HRC rider showed that he had the speed to match Coma by winning the final two stages in Qatar but a navigational mistake on the third stage ended his hopes of retaining his title as he settled for second.
Elsewhere in the bike race there were further encouraging performances for a pair of riders enjoying their debut season with the Red Bull KTM Factory Team. Austrian Matthias Walkner won the second stage on his way to seventh overall while Britain’s Sam Sunderland showed his speed over the sand to finish up in sixth place. The duo were joined in the top 10 by their experienced team-mate Jordi Viladoms who narrowly missed out on the podium in fourth.
There was no victory lap for local quad biker Mohamed Abu Issa who saw his chances of winning a second Sealine Rally end with a crash on stage four. When the Qatari collided with a rock and lost a wheel it opened the path for his Dakar rival Rafal Sonik to pass him and take the overall win.
However, the crowds in Doha did have one Qatari victory to celebrate as the Mini of homegrown hero Nasser Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel led the car race from start to finish. This latest win sees the Qatar Rally Team maintain their high-speed start to 2015 as they continue a sequence of being the fastest car in all six of the races they have entered this year. This remarkable run of results stretches back to the Dakar Rally in January and encompasses WRC2, FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup and Middle East Rally Championship events.
Also in the car race there was the usual grit and determination on display from the the two Red Bull-backed Polish duos. Marek Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor parked their Toyota Hilux in fifth overall while ski jumper turned rally racer Adam Malysz and co-driver Rafal Marton registered a sixth place finish in only their second outing behind the controls of a Mini.