Al-Rajhi and Al-Tuwaijri seal Saudi Toyota Championship titles with victories in Jeddah Rally Toyota

– Yamaha’s Bader Al-Hamdan tops motorcycle category at final round
– Jeddah T2, T3, T4 and T5 success for Al-Qahtani, Al-Saif, Seaidan and Sugawara

The Saudi duo of Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Haitham Al-Tuwaijri clinched their respective car and quad titles in the Saudi Toyota Rally Championship by comfortably winning their categories at Jeddah Rally Toyota 2023 on Saturday.

The duo powered through the final 109km stage that started at Khulais to set the fastest times and confirm the national titles. Victory in the motorcycle section fell to Bader Al-Hamdan on his Yamaha.

Al-Rajhi and co-driver Timo Gottschalk completely dominated the car category in their new Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux and won the final stage by 6min 11sec to secure overall success by the margin of 27 minutes. The success marked Al-Rajhi’s third successive Saudi Toyota Championship title.

Al-Rajhi said: « We did it well. Timo did a great job, like always. We are happy, we are finished and we are ready for Dakar. The car is going well. That is the most important. »

Argentina’s Nicolás Cavigliasso rapidly got to grips with his Wevers Sport Taurus T3 and finished the stage with the second fastest time in the car category, but he retained third in the T3 rankings behind Saleh Al-Saif and Dania Akeel.

The fourth quickest time enabled Al-Saif to confirm second overall in his G Rally Team OT3 behind Al-Rajhi and he also sealed the T3 championship title for lightweight prototype vehicles. Akeel finished as runner-up in T3 in her last event with Wevers Sport before the Dakar Rally in January but had the added delight of finishing on the last step of the overall podium behind Al-Rajhi and Al-Saif.

Runner-up Al-Saif said: « It was a very good rally and our performance was decent. We are happy with this result before the Dakar Rally. It gives us a boost. We finished second in the championship and won T3. This result came through hard work on the past rounds. My co-driver Nasser (Al-Kuwari) did an excellent job. My ambition is to with the championship title in this car in the next seasons. »

Akeel added: « It was really nice. Good navigation and really fast and technical. Sand, gravel and then green. It was good training. We had the same little problem as yesterday but we knew how it fix it and it didn’t slow us down. Maybe we lost 20 seconds. »

Race World’s Yasir Seaidan dropped time on the final stage with transmission issues in his Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR and slipped to fifth overall, although he was able to stay out in front in the lightweight production T4 category. « It was a varied but fast stage,” said Seaidan. “We had fun in the last section, the wadis between the mountains. We had a problem at km32 with a driveshaft, so I had to complete the stage with two-wheel drive. But we finished safety in good weather. »

Khaled Al-Feraihi enjoyed an impressive charge through the final stage with French co-driver Sébastien Delaunay to card the fourth fastest time and climb to sixth place and first in the T1 section in their Nissan Patrol.

Lionel Baud and his daughter Lucie finished seventh in an Overdrive Toyota with Hamad Al-Harbi coming home in eighth in his Can-Am and T1 runner-up Al-Mashna Al-Ramali and T4 championship winner Maha Al-Hameli rounding off the top 10.

Jafar Al-Qahtani survived the rigours of the day’s stage better than his T2 rivals to finish 13th overall and seal victory in the series production cross-country vehicle class although Khaled Al-Hamzani won the Saudi category title. Overnight leader Sufian Al-Omar dropped time and finished behind Abdullah Al-Sanad in fourth.

The Japanese Hino 600 crew of Teruhito Sugawara, Hirokazu Someiya and Yuji Mochizuki romped to a comfortable victory in the T5 truck category on their pre-Dakar test in the Saudi desert.

Bader Al-Hamdan guided his Yamaha to the fastest stage time in the motorcycle class. The Saudi had begun the day in third overall and the day’s performance enabled him to overhaul overnight leader Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera and claim the outright win.

Mishal Al-Ghuneim came home in third and two places ahead of title rival Ehab Al-Hakeem. UAE-based Philip Horlemann was fourth.

Haitham Al-Tuwaijri clinched a comfortable quad class win on his Yamaha and maximum points also ensured that he finished the season well clear of Hani Al-Noumesi in the championship race. The champion said: « We enjoyed it and I cannot wait to participate in Dakar if it’s stages like these. I set a time as fast as the bike category and I clinched the quads category title in the championship. »

Abdulaziz Al-Atawi looked to have finished second until he was awarded an eight-minute time penalty that pushed him down to fourth behind Hani Al-Noumesi and Qatar-based Belgian rider Emile Stuckens.

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

Jeddah Rally Toyota 2023 – final positions after SS2:
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive (T1P), 2hr 47min 14sec
2. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) G Rally Team OT3 (T3), 3hr 14min 14sec
3. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Stéphane Duplé (FRA) Can-Am Taurus T3 (T3), 3hr 16min 58sec
4. Nicolás Cavigliasso (ARG)/Valentina Pertegarini (ARG) Can-Am Taurus T3 (T3), 3hr 17min 27sec
5. Yasir Seaidan (SAU)/Adrien Metge (FRA) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4), 3hr 24min 29sec
6. Khaled Al-Feraihi (SAU)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Nissan (T1), 3hr 31min 54sec
7. Lionel Baud (FRA)/Lucie Baud (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive (T1P), 3hr 38min 56sec
8. Hamad Al-Harbi (SAU)/Aleksei Kuzmich (FIA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3), 3hr 42min 21sec
9. Al-Mashna Al-Ramali (SAU)/Bader Al-Ajmi (SAU) Nissan (T1), 3hr 51min 54sec
10. Maha Al-Hameli (SAU)/Oriol Mena (ESP) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4), 3hr 56min 08sec
11. Abdullah Al-Shegawi (SAU)/Faisal Al-Ahmari (SAU) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4), 4hr 02min 22sec
12. Moaz Hariri (SAU)/Kirill Shubin (FIA) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4), 4hr 02min 59sec
13. Jafar Al-Qahtani (SAU)/Hussam Al-Zahrani (SAU) Nissan (T2), 4hr 03min 13sec
14. Khaled Al-Hamzani (SAU)/Fahad Al-Omar (SAU) Nissan (T2), 4hr 13min 11sec
15. Mathilda Lauwens (ARE)/Ali Mirza (ARE) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4), 4hr 16min 16sec
16. Abdullah Al-Haydan (SAU)/Sultan Al-Haydan (SAU) Nissan (T1), 4hr 27min 39sec
17. Abdullah Al-Sanad (SAU)/Abdullatif Al-Sanad (SAU) Nissan (T2), 4hr 29min 29sec
18. Abdulaziz Al-Yaeesh (SAU)/Omar Al-Lahim (SAU) Nissan (T1), 4hr 31min 08sec
19. Sufian Al-Omer (SAU)/Waleed Al-Shegawi (SAU) Nissan (T2), 4hr 31min 36sec
20. Orjwan Ammar (SAU)/Taye Perry (DEU) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4), 4hr 37min 58sec, etc

Trucks (T5)
1. Teruhito Sugawara/Hirokazu Someiya/Yuji Mochizuki (JPN) Hino 600, 3hr 46min 51sec
2. Ibrahim Al-Muhanna/Faisal Al-Suwayh/Raed Abu Theeb (SAU) Mercedes Unimog, 5hr 59min 07sec
3. Tariq Al-Rammah/Muhanad Al-Khashigi/Mohammad Al-Naasan (SAU) Volvo, 35hr 03min 55sec

1. Bader Al-Hamdan (SAU) Yamaha, 4hr 26min 55sec
2. Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera (SAU) KTM, 4hr 30min 59sec
3. Mishal Al-Ghuneim (SAU) Beta 430, 4hr 33min 28sec
4. Philip Horlemann (ARE) Husqvarna, 4hr 48min 22sec
5. Ehab Al-Hakeem (SAU) Yamaha, 4hr 56min 59sec
6. Luca Passone (SAU) Husqvarna, 6hr 28min 18sec

1. Haitham Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Yamaha, 4hr 21min 05sec
2. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha, 4hr 57min 14sec
3. Emiel Stuckens (QAT) Yamaha, 4hr 59min 47sec
4. Abdulaziz Al-Atawi (SAU) Yamaha, 5hr 04min 00sec
Abdulrahman Alabdullatif (SAU) Yamaha, RETIRED

Neil Perkins,