Qatar’s Adel Abdulla delivered an impressive performance on the second 220km selective section of Columna Medica Baja Poland, round nine of the 2018 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, to lead the T2 category by 5min 29sec on Saturday afternoon.
The Nissan Patrol Y62 driver is attempting to narrow a 23-point gap to Saudi Arabia’s Ahmed Al-Shegawi at the top of the T2 Championship standings and, despite ceding seven seconds to his rival on the opening super special stage on Friday evening, the QX Rally Team driver and French navigator Jean-Michel Polato hit back with the quickest time when it mattered.
Adel said: « We finished the first of the longer stages. It was really hard and bumpy and tough for our cars. Maybe it’s too tough for the T2. We won the stage. I was fighting with Ahmed. Maybe I catch him after 25km from the start. I passed him and he passed me until the last 70 or 100km. Then I started to push. The navigation was also tricky in some places. I think we did a good time. I am happy with the good start we have made. »
Crews tackled the 7.08km super special stage on Friday evening. Al-Shegawi posted the quickest time of 7min 37.6sec to edge into a seven-second lead over Adel Abdulla.
The T2 series rivals were in a class of their own and Poland’s Piotr Sawicki was around 13 seconds slower than the Qatari. Tomasz Baronowski and Laurentiu Claudiu Barbu were classified in fourth and fifth.
The meat of the action began on Saturday morning with the first of two runs through a selective section of 220km on the military training ground at Drawsko Pomorskie. Adel Abdulla was in superb form and the Qatari romped to the stage win by the margin of 5min 36sec to lead the T2 category by 5min 29sec heading into a repeat of the special. Sawicki and Baronowski were third and fourth.
Adel’s challenge for T2 honours this season is being supported by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), Ooredoo Qatar and Nissan Qatar.
Action concludes on Sunday with a pair of runs through two shorter Krekowo and Lubieszyn off-road stages in the nearby Dobra municipality before the ceremonial finish in Szczecin.
2018 Baja Poland– T2 positions after SS2:
1. Adel Abdulla (QAT)/Jean-Michel Polato (FRA) Nissan Patrol Y62, 3hrs 13min 43sec
2. Ahmed Al-Shegawi (SAU)/Alexei Kuzmich (RUS) Toyota Land Cruiser, 3hrs 19min 12sec
3. Piotr Sawicki (POL)/Jakub Moliter (POL) Toyota Land Cruiser, 3hrs 22min 07sec
4. Tomasz Baronowski (POL)/Grzegorz Konczak (POL) Toyota Land Cruiser, 3hrs 32min 15sec…
5. Laurentiu Claudiu Barbu (ROU)/Mihai Gavril Ban (ROU) Nissan Navara – AWAITED