Qatar’s Adel Abdulla confirmed second position in the T2 standings at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with the fastest time in the final 218.57km selective section from Hameem to the south of Abu Dhabi on Thursday morning.
Driving a rented Nissan Safari Y61 in insipid heat, the Qatari and navigator Nasser Al-Kuwari carded a stage-winning time of 3hrs 23min 22sec and managed to shave 11min 38sec off rival Ahmed Shegawi’s eventual winning margin of 45min 53.9sec.
The performance also earned Adel 12th in the overall standings – a particularly impressive result with a near-standard car on one of the toughest cross-country events in the world.
Adel said: « We pushed from the start today and decided to take a risk. Suddenly we saw Shegawi. I think he had a flat tyre or something. We pass him and I pushed very hard to the end of the stage. I was pushing the maximum of the car. I didn’t even slow down when the engine temperature went a bit higher. Some sections today were open and fast and, maybe, that helped to cool the car down.
« The risk paid off because we won the stage today by over 11 minutes. This is fantastic for us. Second place is good with the situation we had. We could not bring our car. I tried my best to do the race and collect maximum points. To collect 36 points is very important.
« Nasser, my co-driver, managed everything in the right way. We were confident together in the car. The weather conditions were very hot. Today, the air temperature was 37°C. It is too much in the dunes.
« I also say thank you to my team here on their good job and to my sponsors, the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and Ooredoo Qatar and Nissan Qatar. »
The next stop in the FIA World Cup calendar will be the Qatar Cross-Country Rally in three weeks’ time.
2018 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – final T2 positions after SS5:
1. Ahmed Al-Shegawi (SAU)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Toyota Land Cruiser, 23hrs 17min 25.7sec
2. Adel Abdulla (QAT)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) Nissan Patrol, 24hrs 03min 19.6sec
3. Yuliya Khegay-Migunova (RUS)/Aldis Vilcans (LVA) Toyota LC 200, 53hrs 21min 10.5sec
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – T2 standings after round 3 : 1. Ahmed Al-Shegawi (SAU), 75 points ; 2. Adel Abdulla (QAT), 69 pts ; 3. Yuliya Khegay-Migunova (RUS), 42 pts ; 4. Alexey Titov (RUS), 25 pts.