Al-Rajhi holds off Peterhansel to extend his Riyadh Rally lead

Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi managed to beat French legend Stéphane Peterhansel by 46 seconds to extend his overall advantage in the Riyadh Rally to 54 seconds after the challenging second 307km section through the deserts around Rumah on Friday morning.

Aiming to win the inaugural Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship and continue valuable pre-Dakar Rally testing, Al-Rajhi and Ulster co-driver Michael Orr clocked a time of 2hr 18min 40sec in a Toyota Hilux.

Like Peterhansel, series rival Yasir Seaidan drove an X-raid prepared MINI JCW Buggy and reached the stage end in third and the night halt 2min 41sec adrift of the outright leader.

Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal slipped to fifth place behind ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari and a plethora of Saudi drivers filled the remaining places inside the top 10. Mutair Al-Shammeri was the best of the bunch in sixth, followed by Faris Al-Moshna Al-Shammeri, Sami and Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri and 10th-placed Khalid Al-Remali.

Salman Al-Shammeri moved to the top of the T2 standings for series-production cross-country vehicles with the fastest time that put the Nissan driver 4min 41sec ahead of Farhan Al-Muharib. Yousef Al-Suwaidi held third overall and Talal Al-Bader moved his Ford up into fourth.

Saleh Al-Saif extended his advantage in the NUTV section to 1min 49sec at the wheel of a Can-Am Maverick X3. Yousef Al-Dhaif maintained second Position and Khalil Al-Tuwaijri was third.

Saudi Arabia’s leading rider Mishal Alghuneim hit the front in the motorcycle category with the fastest time of 3hr 00min 53sec. That enabled the KTM rider to forge into a 1min 20sec advantage over Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi. His brother Sultan came home in third place after incurring a one-minute penalty and Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Shatti rounded off the top four.

As both Abdullah Al-Malki and Abdullah Al-Shegawi retired from the quad category, pre-race favourite Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi incurred 57 minutes of time penalties and plummeted down the running order before retiring from the day with another fistful of penalties.

Sultan Al-Masoud clocked the unofficial fastest time before any potential penalties were imposed and returned to Riyadh on his Yamaha ahead of Fahad Al-Madah and Sufyan Al-Omar.

The event is being organised by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), under the chairmanship of H.R.H. Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and supervision of former FIA Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab.

The rally runs with the support of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, the General Sport Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group, Al-Arabia outdoors and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.

Tomorrow (Saturday), competitors will tackle a shorter section of 160km through the scenic Saad National Park before the ceremonial finish at Al Diriyah, near Riyadh.

Riyadh Rally – positions after SS2 (cars):
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Michael Orr (GBR) Toyota Hilux Overdrive, 2hr 21min 00sec
2. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Paulo Fuiza (PRT) MINI JCW Buggy, 2hr 21min 54sec
3. Yasir Seaidan (SAU)/Alexei Kuzmich (RUS) MINI JCW Buggy, 2hr 24min 35sec
4. Essa Al-Dossari (SAU)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Nissan Navara, 2hr 29min 47sec
5. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SVK) Ford F-150 Evo, 2hr 34min 22sec
6. Mutair Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Hani Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan, 2hr 36min 32sec
7. Faris Moshna Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Musa Djiyerian (JOR) Nissan, 2hr 41min 52sec
8. Sami Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Abdullah Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan, 2hr 44min 09sec
9. Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Mazan Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan, 2hr 44min 10sec
10. Khalid Al-Remali (SAU)/Radi Al-Remali (SAU) Nissan, 2hr 44min 22sec
11. Khalid Al-Feraihi (SAU)/Rafael Tornabell (ESP) Nissan, 2hr 46min 34sec
12. Ahmed Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Ziad Al-Harbi (SAU) Nissan, 2hr 46min 48sec
13. Salman Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Rashed Al-Toyawi (SAU) Nissan, 2hr 49min 17sec
14. Ahmed Al-Malki (SAU)/Raed Al-Assaf (SAU) Nissan, 2hr 49min 56sec
15. Khalaf Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Jouan Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan, 2hr 53min 20sec…

Riyadh Rally – positions after SS2 (NUTVs):
1. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/Khalid Al-Marshood (SAU) Can-Am, 2hr 53min 52sec
2. Yousef Al-Dhaif (SAU)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Can-Am, 2hr 55min 41sec
3. Khalil Al-Tuwaijri (SAU)/Waleed Al-Tuwijri (SAU) Can-Am, 3hr 08min 48sec
4. Bader Abalkhail (SAU)/Suleyman Tonguc Salgar (TUR) Yamaha, 3hr 14min 08sec
5. Majed Al-Tuwaijri (SAU)/Raed Al-Marziad (SAU) Can-Am, 3hr 15min 45sec
6. Fahad Al-Naim (SAU)/Abdullah Al-Naim (SAU) Yamaha, 3hr 17min 19sec…

Riyadh Rally – positions after SS2 (bikes):
1. Mishal Algunheim (SAU) KTM, 3hr 05min 03sec
2. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM, 3hr 06min 23sec
3. Sultan Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM, 3hr 06min 32sec
4. Abdullah Al-Shatti (KWT), 3hr 13min 09sec
5. Abdullah Bin Dakhan (ARE) Yamaha, 3hr 22min 26sec…

Riyadh Rally – positions after SS2 (quads):
1. Sultan Al-Masoud (SAU) Yamaha, 3hr 44min 05sec
2. Fahad Al-Madah (SAU) Yamaha, 3hr 51min 49sec
3. Sufyan Al-Omar (SAU) Yamaha, 3hr 55min 36sec
4. Abdulrahman Alaglaa (SAU) Yamaha, 3hr 57min 02sec
5. Abdulaziz Al-Shayban (SAU) Yamaha, 4hr 00min 27sec
6. Majed Al-Shegawi (SAU) Honda, 4hr 08min 36sec…

Neil Perkins,


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