Sheikh Hamed reigns supreme in third round
Qatari tops championship standings with 45 points, and three rounds to go
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.
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.