Sheikh Hamed reigns supreme in third round

Qatari tops cham­pi­onship stand­ings with 45 points, and three rounds to go

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE - By Sports Re­porter

HE Sheikh Hamed al-Thani eased to a com­fort­able vic­tory in the third round of Qatar Manateq Baja yes­ter­day. Sheikh Hamed and his co-driver Fi­ras Al­louh ne­go­ti­ated the tricky desert ter­rain of Sealine and Khor Al Udaid without any prob­lems in their Nis­san Pa­trol.

The Qatari duo topped the time sheets as Sheikh Hamed brought home the car in 1:51:54 sec­onds. But they in­curred a five-minute penalty for a tech­ni­cal in­fringe­ment which meant their win­ning time was 1:56:54 sec­ond, which was still enough for them win to by a whop­ping mar­gin of 37.14 secs.

An­other Qatari duo Nayef al-Nasr and J Falahi fin­ished sec­ond in their Canam Mav­er­ick X3 with a time of 2:34:08 secs, fol­lowed by Qatar’s Mo­hamed al-At­tiyah and Jor­dan’s T. alHi­jazeen in Canam Mav­er­ick X3 in a time of 2:34:09 secs.

The vic­tory helped Sheikh Hamed top the cham­pi­onship rank­ings with 45 points, with three rounds still re­main­ing. Adel Hus­sein was in sec­ond place with 40 points, de­spite miss­ing out on yes­ter­day’s round. In the third was Saudi driver Ahmed al-Shaqawi with 36 points.

Sheikh Hamed was de­lighted with the vic­tory and thanked Qatar Mo­tor and Mo­tor­cy­cle Fed­er­a­tion (QMMF) for or­gan­is­ing the cham­pi­onship. “It was a great day of com­pe­ti­tion. There were in­ter­est­ing bat­tles. There are young and ex­pe­ri­enced com­peti­tors tak­ing part in such events. Com­pet­ing here is not easy. I en­joyed my­self as did my nav­i­ga­tor,” he said.

“I must say this is a great event con­ducted by QMMF. Go­ing by the crowd present here at the prize distri­bu­tion cer­e­mony, you can tell how pop­u­lar such events are. We look for­ward to more ex­cit­ing chal­lenges in days to come,” he added.

QMMF Pres­i­dent Ab­dul­rah­man al-Man­nai was pleased with the start of new sea­son and praised the level of com­pe­ti­tion at Qatar Baja. “It’s a good start for the sea­son. Af­ter the sum­mer break peo­ple are get­ting back and driv­ing these cars. It’s a nice start and there is a good mix of some ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers and some new faces like Mo­hamed al-At­tiyah and Rashid Mo­han­nadi,” he said.

“It’s good to see them con­tinue to race in the cham­pi­onship. It’s a tough sport and ex­pen­sive. Sus­tain­abil­ity is al­ways an is­sue. So I am glad to see the driv­ers con­tin­u­ing to com­pete. Al-At­tiyah was al­most sec­ond to­day but he got some penal­ties. So I am very happy. We had a Rus­sian co-driver and Kuwaitis and Oma­nis par­tic­i­pat­ing. So it was a good turnout,” the QMMF Pres­i­dent added.

The fourth round of Qatar Baja will be held on Novem­ber 30 and De­cem­ber 1, fol­lowed by fifth round in fourth week of De­cem­ber and the last round in Jan­uary. Al-Man­nai said the rea­son for long gap in be­tween each rounds is to give am­ple time for the par­tic­i­pants to get their car in top shape.

“Baja ac­tu­ally was held dur­ing the cross coun­try. Ev­ery day there was one round. We have tried to spread the legs to give them time to fix their cars and get ready for next round. If any­thing hap­pens to their car dur­ing the one week of cross coun­try, then some of them have no chance to com­pete the next day. We are try­ing to help them and keep the sea­son longer. It will give them a chance to get ready prop­erly for reach round,” he said.

Up next for QMMF is Manateq In­ter­na­tional Rally of Qatar, the fi­nale to the 2018 FIA Mid­dle East Rally Cham­pi­onship, which will be held from Novem­ber 15-17.

OVER­ALL RE­SULTS

1. Sheikh Hamed al-Thani (Qatar) and Fi­ras Al­louh (Qatar) Nis­san Pa­trol. Time: 1:56:54 secs.

2. Nayef al-Nasr (Qatar) and J Falahi (Qatar). Canam Mav­er­ick X3. Time: 2:34:08 secs

3. Mo­hamed al-At­tiyah (Qatar) and T. al-Hi­jazeen (Jor­dan). Canam Mav­er­ick X3. Time: 2:34:09 secs,

4. Mo­hamed al-Meer (Qatar) and Alexey Kuzmich (Rus­sia). Nis­san Pa­trol. Time: 2:37:04 secs.

5. Khalid al-Mo­han­nadi (Qatar) and S Ma­soud (Oman). Po­laris. Time: 3:06:08 secs,

6. Ab­du­laz­izi al-Bshayer (Kuwait) and F Zaidan (Kuwait) Canam Mav­er­ick. Time: 3:39:05 secs,

7. Rashid al-Mo­han­nadi (Qatar) N al-Enezi (Kuwait) Nissal Pa­trol. Time: 4:42:41 secs.

HE Sheikh Hamed al-Thani (third from right) and co-driver Fi­ras Al­louh (third from left) cel­e­brate on the podium af­ter win­ning the third round of the Qatar Manateq Baja with the run­ners-up yes­ter­day.

Qatar Mo­tor and Mo­tor­cy­cle Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Ab­dul­rah­man al-Man­nai (right) at the prize distri­bu­tion cer­e­mony yes­ter­day.

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