Prologue wins for Al-Rajhi, Al-Mogheera and Al-Tuwaijri at Jeddah Rally Toyota

The Saudi trio of Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Abdulhaleem Al-Mogheera and Haitham Al-Tuwaijri topped the times in the car, motorcycle and quad categories on the opening three-kilometre Prologue stage of Jeddah Rally Toyota 2023 on Thursday afternoon.

Twenty-six cars, six motorcycles, five quads and three trucks were flagged away from the start of the final round of the 2023 Saudi Toyota Rally Championship at the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) by Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) President H.R.H. Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal in the presence of Cyril Piaia, Chief Executive Officer of KAEC.

Championship leader Yazeed Al-Rajhi again teamed up with German co-driver Timo Gottschalk in a newly-liveried Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux. He clocked the fastest time of 1min 46sec and that enabled the Riyadh driver to hold an overnight lead of six seconds.

Lionel and Lucie Baud continued their pre-Dakar testing in the second of the Overdrive Toyotas and clocked the second quickest time.

Third-placed Saleh Al-Saif is looking to close out the T3 title for lightweight prototype vehicles and he edged into a three-second lead over closest championship rival Dania Akeel. Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso and Hamad Al-Harbi were third and fourth in class.

Al-Mashna Al-Ramali was the highest-placed of the local T1 drivers in seventh overall. Sufian Al-Omar was the early pace setter in his Nissan in the T2 section for series production cross-country vehicles and finished the stage 10 seconds ahead of the series-leading Khaled Al-Hamzani.

Race World’s Yasir Seaidan switched to the T4 category to drive a Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR in the lightweight production class and completed the Prologue in fifth overall and first in his class. Dubai-based French girl Mathilda Lauwens was making her Saudi debut in an R-X Sport Can-Am and came home ahead of Maha Al-Hameli in second place in T4.

The Japanese trio of Teruhito Sugawara, Hirokazu Someiya and Yuji Mochizuki are using the event as a pre-Dakar test and topped the T5 truck class times in their Hino 600. Ibrahim Al-Muhanna finished second in his Mercedes but local rival Tariq Al-Rammah (Volvo) lost time stopped on the stage.

With the Emirati duo of Mohammed and Sultan Al-Balooshi and Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Shatti failing to make the event, six riders lined up at the start of the final round of the motorcycle championship.

Mishal Al-Ghuneim had missed Rally Qassim Toyota because of a date clash with a kite surfing challenge held as part of the Saudi Games. He lined up alongside series leader Ehab Al-Hakeem, Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera, Bader Al-Hamdan, Luca Passone and UAE-based Philip Horlemann. Al-Mogheera was two seconds faster than Al-Noumesi through the Prologue stage with Al-Ghuneim coming home in third.

Title rivals Haitham Al-Tuwaijri and Hani Al-Noumesi topped the five-strong quad start list on their Yamahas with Abdulaziz Al-Atawi, Abdulrahman Alabdullatif and Emile Stuckens looking to upset the form book. Al-Tuwaijri finished the short stage 15 seconds ahead of Al-Noumesi, with Al-Atawi completing the sandy opener in third.

The event is being organised by the SAMF in conjunction with the Ministry of Sport, official partner Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) Motors and strategic partner Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB).

The first desert stage of 246km runs on Friday morning with the first bike due at the start in Rabigh at 08.00hrs. The first car follows at 09.30hrs.

Jeddah Rally Toyota 2023 – Prologue result
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive (T1P), 1min 46sec
2. Lionel Baud (FRA)/Lucie Baud (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive (T1P), 1min 52sec
3. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) G Rally Team OT3 (T3), 1min 57sec
4. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Stéphane Duplé (FRA) Can-Am Taurus T3 (T3), 2min 00sec
5. Yasir Seaidan (SAU)/Adrien Metge (FRA) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4), 2min 02sec
6. Nicolas Cavigliasso (ARG)/Valentina Pertegarini (ARG) Can-Am Taurus T3 (T3), 2min 08sec
7. Al-Mashna Al-Ramali (SAU)/Bader Al-Ajmi (SAU) Nissan (T1), 2min 09sec
8. Sufian Al-Omer (SAU)/Waleed Al-Shegawi (SAU) Nissan (T2), 2min 09sec
9. Hamad Al-Harbi (SAU)/Aleksei Kuzmich (FIA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3), 2min 11sec
10. Khaled Al-Feraihi (SAU)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Nissan (T1), 2min 13sec
11. Abdulaziz Al-Yaeesh (SAU)/Omar Al-Lahim (SAU) Nissan (T1), 2min 14sec
12. Abdullah Al-Haydan (SAU)/Sultan Al-Haydan (SAU) Nissan (T1), 2min 16sec
13. Mathilda Lauwens (ARE)/Ali Mirza (ARE) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4), 2min 18sec
14. Khaled Al-Hamzani (SAU)/Fahad Al-Omar (SAU) Nissan (T2), 2min 19sec
15. Maha Al-Hameli (SAU)/Oriol Mena (ESP) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4), 2min 21sec
16. Fahad Al-Marmas (SAU)/Yazeed Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan (T1), 2min 22sec
17. Mohammed Asiri (SAU)/Sulaiman Al-Oraini (SAU) Nissan (T2), 2min 24sec
18. Moaz Hariri (SAU)/Kirill Shubin (FIA) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4), 2min 26sec
19. Owaid Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Ayidh Al-Harbi (SAU) Nissan (T1), 2min 27sec
20. Jafar Al-Qahtani (SAU)/Hussam Al-Zahrani (SAU) Nissan (T2), 2min 27sec, etc

Trucks (T5)
1. Teruhito Sugawara/Hirokazu Someiya/Yuji Mochizuki (JPN) Hino 600, 2min 29sec
2. Ibrahim Al-Muhanna/Faisal Al-Suwayh/Raed Abu Theeb (SAU) Mercedes Unimog, 3min 11sec
3. Tariq Al-Rammah/Muhanad Al-Khashigi/Mohammad Al-Naasan (SAU) Volvo, 20min 47sec

1. Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera (SAU) KTM, 2min 08sec
2. Ehab Al-Hakeem (SAU) Yamaha, 2min 10sec
3. Mishal Al-Ghuneim (SAU) Beta 430, 2min 16sec
4. Bader Al-Hamdan (SAU) Yamaha, 2min 18sec
5. Philip Horlemann (ARE) Husqvarna, 2min 29sec
6. Luca Passone (SAU) Husqvarna, 3min 13sec

1. Haitham Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Yamaha, 2min 06sec
2. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha, 2min 21sec
3. Abdulaziz Al-Atawi (SAU) Yamaha, 2min 41sec
4. Emiel Stuckens (QAT) Yamaha, 2min 48sec
5. Abdulrahman Alabdullatif (SAU) Yamaha, 2min 57sec