SA BUILT HILUX BAKKIES FIRST, SECOND AND FIFTH OVERALL AFTER PENULTIMATE STAGE OF THE QATAR CROSS-COUNTRY RALLY
Nasser Al-Attiyah comfortably leads in his Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux
Argentina’s Alvarez and Graue now in stunning second position
Faisal Al-Attiya rolls and recovers to conserve fifth place
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz Senra were in superb form in their South African developed and built Toyota Hilux V8 to seal a stunning victory in the third special stage of the 2012 Sealine Cross-Country Rally, round three of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, on Friday.
The duo will now start the final special stage on Saturday with a comfortable overall advantage of 46 min 09 sec over their second-placed Argentinean team-mates, Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue, in a second Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux.
“It was a very technical and difficult stage but it was enjoyable and the result has put me in a very good position,” said Al-Attiyah.
Alvarez’s Hilux suffered a puncture, but he still finished the stage in third position behind Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser and will now start the final stage 48 seconds in front of the UAE’s Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei.
Faisal Al-Attiya and French navigator Matthieu Baumel rolled the third Overdrive Toyota but still managed to reach the stage finish in eighth position and slipped to fifth in the overall standings.
“I had a puncture and then stopped to check that Faisal and Matthieu were okay after their roll, but I am happy with our performance today… ” said Alvarez.
Overdrive Racing is now in a fantastic position to take its biggest outright victory to date and it’s first with a Toyota in a long-distance round of the FIA World Cup.
The three Overdrive Toyotas began the penultimate stage from first, ninth and tenth positions on the road. Priority was given to championship drivers and Faisal Al-Attiya and Alvarez had to follow all their main rivals into the special.
Al-Attiyah reached the motorcycle refuelling point well clear of his nearest rival, but Yazeed Al-Rajhi was mounting a fierce charge from the middle of the field and was quicker than the Qatari to the checkpoint, although the Saudi lost time soon afterwards with a flat tyre and navigational problems.
Alvarez was sixth quickest to the second checkpoint and Faisal Al-Attiya reached the control point in 11th position after losing over 20 minutes earlier following a gentle roll. There was no stopping Al-Attiyah in the flying Hilux and he reached the third checkpoint just under 13 minutes clear of his nearest challenger, team-mate Lucio Alvarez, who benefited from others’ problems to hold a virtual second fastest time.
With Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi rolling out of contention, Al-Attiyah reached the stage finish 15min 46sec in front of Schlesser to give himself a comfortable lead to take into the final day – consisting of a shorter 208.63km special stage.
Positions on SS3 (357.99km) – unofficial @ 12.40hrs