– Poland’s Przygonski loses time with navigational woes; Domzala in third
– Qatar’s Adel Abdulla extends leads in T2; early T3 advantage for Fournier
– Poland’s Maciej Giemza on track for FIM success; Maksimov leads the quads
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel romped to an emphatic victory on the opening 358.15km desert stage of the Manateq Qatar Cross-Country Rally on Thursday.
The day’s stage started south-west of Losail and wound its way through the remote western wastelands before crossing the bottom of the country to finish near Sealine in the south. The Toyota Hilux driver began the day positioned eighth on the road, but he delivered another polished performance to extend his overall advantage in the fourth round of the FIA World Cup to 16min 07sec.
Al-Attiyah said: « It was a good job today, but it was a very difficult stage and not easy for the navigation. We lose a little bit of time searching for the road and we had one flat tyre, but I am quite happy to be here. Many people made mistakes today. Tomorrow is another day and we try to do our best. »
Poland’s Jakub Przygonski lost some time in the middle of the stage with his own navigational issues, but the X–Raid MINI driver hit back over the closing kilometres to pull clear of fellow countryman Aron Domzala to snatch the second quickest time and move up to a similar position in the standings.
« We are happy for second position but we are not so happy with the rhythm today,