Editorial Raid

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Africa Eco Race 2019

Saudi's Yazeed Al-Rajhi storms to victory Rally Jeddah

- Saudi rider Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi wins bike and quad category on his Kawasaki

- Ahmed Al-Shegawi takes runner-up spot in car section; third for Sami Al-Shammeri

After inheriting the overnight lead when Rajeh Farhan Al-Shammeri was awarded a time penalty, fellow Saudi Arabian driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi romped through the second selective section of Rally Jeddah to confirm a comfortable victory on Saturday.

Partnered by French co-driver Alex Winocq, the Hummer driver won the second special by 4min 27sec from Ahmed Al-Shegawi’s Chevrolet Buggy and he was over 17 minutes quicker through the stage than closest overnight rival Sami Al-Shammeri. Al-Shegawi did enough to secure second position with his Emirati co-driver Yousef Arif Mohammed and Al-Shammeri slipped to third overall in the Bakhashab Isuzu Team D-Max.

“It was close at the overnight halt, but I knew that I had the pace and the performance with the car to push on today and secure the win,” said Al-Rajhi. “It’s great to see and support a new event of this stature in Saudi Arabia and I congratulate the organising team on their efforts. This is a very busy month for me. This is the first of three events in as many weekends. Next stop is Sweden – from the desert and the sun to the forests and the ice and snow!”

The leading trio finished the event well clear of fourth-placed Yahia Halawi, with Ibrahim Al-Muhanna rounding off the top five. Fellow Saudi Khalid Al-Hamami failed to complete the day’s designated course and lost out on his overnight fifth position.

Saudi rider Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi won the day’s bike stage on his Kawasaki 450 by the margin of 4min 24sec from Abdullah Ghazi Al-Shoaby. Overnight leader Hamad Al-Hdayan stopped after PC3 and lost his chance of taking the outright win and there were also problems on the day for Abdulaziz Al-Hathlul.

Emirati Yayha Al-Helai hit problems for the second successive day in his Nissan Patrol. He incurred a fistful of time penalties on Friday that dropped him to 23rd overall at the restart, but he only completed a section of Saturday’ route before heading back to the service park in Durat Al-Arus. Saleh Al-Abdulali failed to restart day two.

Qatar’s Mohammed Al-Mannai did not restart from 21st overall in his Nissan Navara after losing over two and a half hours with mechanical issues on Friday. Problems also dropped Ahmed Al-Sabban and his new Ford Raptor down to 15th position after the first leg but he recovered with the ninth quickest time on Saturday to finish just outside the top 10.
The leader board in the car category was turned on its head on Friday evening when initial overnight leader Rajeh Farhan Al-Shammeri was awarded a 1hr 20min time penalty for a route infringement and plummeted from first overall to 14th. Several erroneous stage times were also corrected and Al-Rajhi was handed a tiny four-second lead by race organisers, as he and second-placed Sami Al-Shammeri set out into the second selective section on Saturday morning.

The new event was held under the patronage of H.R.H. Prince Mishaal Bin Majid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Governor of Jeddah and head of Rally Jeddah’s Higher Organising Committee.

It was organised with the support of the Higher Committee of the Jeddah Rally which incorporates the General Presidency of Youth Welfare, Jeddah Municipality, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiques in the Mecca region, a branch of the Saudi Red Crescent in Mecca, the Jeddah Police and Traffic Departments and Civil Defence Administration in Jeddah. MYN Motors supplied Land Rovers as the official car.

Positions after leg/Cars
1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA)/Alex Winocq (FRA) Hummer Dbug, 3hr 18min 12sec
2. Ahmed Al-Shegawi (KSA)/Arif Yousef Mohammed (UAE) Chevrolet Buggy, 3hr 26min 02sec
3. Sami Al-Shammeri (KSA)/Abdullah Al-Shammeri (KSA) Isuzu D-Max, 3hr 35min 35sec
4. Yahia Halawi (KSA)/Ali Al-Saiari (KSA) Nissan Patrol, 3hr 50min 36sec
5. Ibrahim Al-Muhanna (KSA)/Hasan Ali Obaid (KSA) Nissan Patrol, 3hr 53min 28sec
6. Yaser Al-Saedan (KSA)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Toyota Prado, 4hr 03min 52sec
7. Khalf Saleh Al-Joaan (KSA)/Ahmed Al-Shammeri (KSA) Nissan Patrol, 4hr 16min 22sec
8. Khalid Al-Hamazani (KSA)/Bader Al-Hamazani (KSA) Nissan Patrol, 4hr 23min 32sec
9. Omar Al-Lahim (KSA)/Waleed Al-Fiuam (KSA) Toyota, 4hr 25min 19sec
10. Ahmed Abdullah Al-Shuleel (KSA)/Abdulaziz Al-Asfoor (KSA) Nissan, 4hr 27min 41sec...

1. Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi (KSA) Kawasaki 450, 4hr 22min 18sec
2. Sultan Al-Masood (KSA) Suzuki 450, 4hr 26min 21sec
3. Abdullah Ghazi Al-Shoaby (KSA) Yamaha 700, 14hr 47min 42sec...

Neil Perkins,

Marie-France Estenave pour MFE-Live.com

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