The three South African built Overdrive Racing Toyota Hiluxes yesterday completed the first true desert stage of the 2012 Sealine Cross-Country Rally in first, second and fourth positions and hold first, third and fourth in the overall standings.
Nasser Al-Attiyah and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz Senra trounced the opposition on this stage, the second of the third round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. The Qatari utilised his local knowledge to the full and his Hilux never missed a beat.
The former Dakar winner now has a massive 11min 07sec lead for the second of four long desert stages today. “It was a good start to the rally. I wanted to push to see the real pace of the Toyota. The Hilux performed perfectly on the difficult stage. There is still a long way to go in the rally and Lucas and I look forward to the next couple of days,” said Al-Attiyah.
The Argentinean duo of Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue finished the stage in second position to hold third in the overall standings. They passed control point 1 in a virtual fifth place and enjoyed a useful run from then on to hold second at control point 2 and second through the third and fourth passage controls.
Qatar’s Faisal Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel started 10th, climbed to seventh at the first passage control and moved up to fifth at the next one. “All the teams really did a great job today, said Overdrive team director Jean-Marc Fortin. “Nasser and Lucas showed why they are considered one of the top crews in cross-country. Lucio also showed great pace today, further proving that his recent fifth place on the Dakar was no fluke.
“For me, the big surprise of the day was Faisal and Matthieu. Their fourth place on the stage was impressive when you take into account that they suffered a puncture en route. But we still have a long way to go,” he added.
The Hiluxes of Nasser Al-Attiyah, Lucio Alvarez and Faisal Al-Attiyah had completed the opening 4.2km super special stage in first, fourth and sixth positions on Tuesday afternoon, and started the first 330.51km desert stage from first, ninth and 10th in the running order, with priority given to points’ scorers in the FIA World Cup thus far.
Today (Thursday) the competitors tackle a repeat of the 330.51km loop stage through the southern extremities of Qatar.
Sealine Cross-Country Rally – positions after SS1 (330.51km)
(unofficial @ 12.15hrs)
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Lucas Cruz Senra (ESP) Toyota Hilux 3h 06m 19.1s
2. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini All4 Racing 3h 17m 26.7s
3. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) Toyota Hilux 3h 18m 19.8s
4. Faisal Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota HiLux 3h 23m 12.4s
5. Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA)/Konstantin Zlitstov (RUS) Schlesser Original 3h 24m 55.4s
6. Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei (UAE)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) Mini All4 Racing 3h 26m 47.0s
7. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Vitaliy Yevtyekhov (RUS) G-Force Proto 3h 36m 30.8s
8. Boris Gadasin (RUS)/Dan Shchemel (RUS) G-Force Proto 3h 41m 52.7s
9. Ilya Kusnetsov (RUS)/Roman Elagin (RUS) BMW X3 CC 3h 46m 57.9s
10. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Miloslav Janacek (CZE) BMW X3 CC 3h 50m 41.1s
Sealine Cross-Country Rally, Qatar - April 15th-21st, 2012
2012 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 3
19th April 2012