Sports / Rally

Al Attiyah, Dabrowski clinch Qatar International Baja titles

Published: 27 Mar 2022 - 09:02 am | Last Updated: 27 Mar 2022 - 09:16 am
Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) President Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Latif Al Mannai with QMMF's Executive Director Amro Al Hamad, champions Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah Al Attiyah and French co-driver Mathieu Baumel along with other officials during the presentation ceremony, yesterday.

Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) President Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Latif Al Mannai with QMMF's Executive Director Amro Al Hamad, champions Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah Al Attiyah and French co-driver Mathieu Baumel along with other officials during the presentation ceremony, yesterday.

The Peninsula

Lusail: Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and Polish junior rider Konrad Dąbrowski were confirmed as the winners of the Qatar International Baja yesterday, but strong winds, limited visibility and safety concerns meant that the final stage for the FIA competitors was cancelled.

With visibility reduced by shifting sands and gusting north-westerly winds, Al Attiyah and French co-driver Mathieu Baumel were unable to take the revised start of the final section in their Toyota GR DKR Hilux and the result stood as per the classification on Friday evening, although reduced points were awarded to registered contenders in the FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.

“Safety is the most important thing for everyone and it was the only decision to cancel the stage today,” said Al Attiyah. 

“It would have been a good fight. I was very happy with the way the car performed yesterday and I am always so happy to win races in Qatar. This terrain is tough and the navigation is never easy.”

Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah drives during yesterday's stage.

Yazeed Al Rajhi and co-driver Michael Orr duly finished second overall and Yasir Seaidan rounded off the podium places and a Toyota 1-2-3 finish with French co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter.

Al Rajhi said: “It was a clever and good decision to cancel the stage, safety is very important. There was a lot of wind and dust and the organisers tried to push us to CP1 to try and see how it was. We could not see, so it was a good decision. We want to do motor sport in a safe way. Sure I am happy with my position. Second place in Qatar, you have to be happy. To win here is difficult. Nasser has a lot of experience.”  

FIM Motorcycles category winner Konrad Dabrowski poses for a photo with QMMF President Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Latif Al Mannai, QMMF's Executive Director Amro Al Hamad and an official.

Duust Rally Team’s Dąbrowski was never troubled over the final blustery stage, moved ahead of his rivals as the morning progressed and stormed to an emphatic win by the margin of 10min 53.9sec. The success marked the first ever for Husqvarna in Qatar and a second Polish triumph on two wheels after Maciej Giemza topped the standings at the Qatar Cross-Country Rally in 2018.

“It was really difficult today in some places with the white sand and the strong wind, it was difficult see and almost impossible to see the angles,” said a delighted Dąbrowski. 

“I enjoyed it. I was pushing today. I didn’t want the guys to catch me. I focused on the navigation and the speed was coming with it. It was a really good day. First of all, I had my first ever stage win here and then to win every stage in the rally and to win the rally, I did not expect that. I am really surprised and really happy.”

Emirati Mohammed Al Balooshi and Great Britain’s Maki Rees-Stavros rode close together for much of the final stage to come home in second and third places.

South Africa’s Michael Anderson came home in fourth overall and the UK’s Alex McInnes rounded off the top five. Saudi Arabia’s Ahmed Al Jaber, Robert Wallace, Qatar’s over-450cc category winner Sheikh Mohamed Al Thani, Bahrain’s Salman Farhan and wrapped up the top 10.

WRC star Kris Meeke enjoyed his first experiences in a Can-Am entered in the T3 lightweight prototype category and secured the category win and fourth overall with French co-driver François Cazalet. The Andorra-based Ulsterman finished 21min 25.3sec ahead of local driver Ahmed Al Kuwari in his QMMF Team Can-Am.

“Unfortunately day two was cancelled,” said Meeke. “The wind was really strong on the far side of the country where the stage was due to start. It was like a mini sandstorm and visibility was really low. The organisers took a decision on safety. It’s a bit disappointing for everyone not to be able to get more kilometres. I really enjoyed day one and the two stages we did. I was happy we had a good rhythm. I can say it’s my first victory in off-road. I continue to learn and look forward to the next events.”

Khalifa Saleh Al Attiyah and Max Delfino were handed 12 minutes of time penalties on Friday evening for missing route waypoints. The Qatari slipped to sixth overall but secured the FIA T4 category win by 4min 32.8sec from the father and son crew of Sadoon and Nasser Al Kuwari. Rashid Al Muhannadi, Emirati Yasmeen Koloc and Adel Abdulla rounded off the top finishers in their Can-Ams.

Dani Sordo’s progress was ruined by missing waypoints on Friday and the Nasser Racing Can-Am debutant slipped down the rankings as a result. He was eventually classified in 13th overall and eighth in T3.

Saudi Arabia’s Muneef Al Shammeri (Nissan) finished 14th overall and won the FIA T2 category, while fellow countryman Abdulmajeed Al Khulaifi secured the FIM quad section win on his Yamaha. Belgian rival Emiel Stuckens only completed part of the final stage. Qatar’s Abdullah Al Khelaifi was the sole competitor in the FIM SSV section.

Saudi Arabia’s Mishaal Al Ghuneim fended off the challenge from Emirati rider Mohammed Meerza and Qatar’s Arkadiy Bochinin to win the FIM National Baja. Al Mashna and Hani Al Shammeri won the National Baja for cars.

2022 Qatar International Baja – Final results
FIA – Cars
1. Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (AND)
Toyota GR DKR Hilux    2hr 21min 11.5sec
2. Yazeed Al Rajhi (SAU)/Michael Orr (GBR) 
Toyota Hilux Overdrive    2hr 25min 04.1sec
3. Yasir Seaidan (SAU)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) 
Toyota Hilux Overdrive    2hr 48min 41.3sec
4. Kris Meeke (AND)/François Cazalet (FRA) 
Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)    2hr 50min 40.6sec
5. Ahmed Al Kuwari (QAT)/Manuel Lucchese (QAT)
Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)    3hr 12min 05.9sec
6. Khalifa Saleh Al Attiyah (QAT)/Max Delfino (FRA)
Can-Am Maverick XRS (T4)    3hr 14min 01.7sec
7. Sadoon Al Kuwari (QAT)/Nasser Al Kuwari (QAT)
Can-Am Maverick XRS T4)    3hr 18min 34.5sec
8. Rashid Al Muhannadi (QAT)/Szymon Gospodarczyk (POL) 
Can-Am Maverick XRS (T3)    3hr 22min 48.3sec
9. Yasmeen Koloc (ARE)/Stéphane Duplé (FRA) 
Can-Am Maverick DV21 (T3)    3hr 29min 23.6sec
10. Adel Abdulla (QAT)/Hugo Magalhães (PRT) 
Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)    3hr 35min 48.8sec

FIM – Bikes
1. Konrad Dabrowski (POL) Husqvarna FR450    6hr 41min 53.4sec
2. Mohammed Al Balooshi (ARE) Husqvarna FR450    6hr 52min 47.3sec
3. Maki Rees-Stavros (GBR) KTM 450 EXC-F    7hr 08min 08.6sec
4. Michael Anderson (RSA) KTM 450 EXC-F    8hr 38min 58.0sec
5. Alex McInnes (GBR) Husqvarna FE450    8hr 45min 10.6sec

FIM – Quads
1. Abdulmajeed Al Khulaifi (SAU) Yamaha 700 CC    9hr 26min 17.9sec

2022 Qatar National Baja – Positions

1. Al Mashna Al Shammeri (SAU)/Hani Al Shammeri (SAU) 
Nissan Patrol    1hr 41min 14.7sec
2. Motab Saud Al Shammeri (SAU)/Bader Al Ajmi (SAU) 
Nissan Patrol    1hr 52min 19.1sec
3. Abdullah Al Rabban (QAT)/Pedro Santos (PRT) 
Jeep    2hr 32min 27.8sec
4. Salem Al Thefiri (KWT)/Firas Al Thefiri (KWT) 
Nissan Patrol    3hr 00min 35.1sec
5. Dhari Al Dhafeeri (KWT)/Saffah Al Dhafeeri (KWT) 
Can-Am Maverick X3    4hr 15min 02.7sec

1. Mishaal Al Ghuneim (SAU) KTM 450 Rally    5hr 52min 19.8sec
2. Mohammed Meerza (ARE) Husqvarna    6hr 10min 04.6sec
3. Arkadiy Bochinin (QAT) KTM 450    6hr 27min 01.9sec
4. Abdulrahman Al Nasr (QAT) Yamaha    6hr 36min 02.1sec