Przygonski Battles to Dubai International Baja Victory as Emirati Rider Al Balooshi Claims First World Cup Bikes Win
Polish driver Jakub Przygonski battled his way to victory in the Dubai International Baja powered by Nissan and AW Rostamani today as leading UAE biker Mohammed Al Balooshi said his very first World Cup bikes triumph to climax two days of traditional cross country rallying.
Partnered by Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul in a Mini John Cooper, overnight leader Przygonski finished the second leg's 174 km Nissan unique stage to protect the autos title with a winning margin of 4mins 8 secs from Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov in one more Mini.
Saudi Arabia's Yasir Hamed Seaidan with Russian co-driver Aleksei Kuzmich ended up third another 1 minutes 32 secs away in their Toyota Hilux.
But they were all beaten on the day by the UAE's Khalid Al Qassimi who neglected the mechanical failure which dropped him from contention 1 Day earlier to set the fastest time on the Nissan stage along with French co-driver Xavier Panseri in their Peugeot Abu Dhabi Racing Team 3008 DKR.
Fastest today in the bikes, Balooshi powered his KTM to the Dubai Baja crown by 2mins 56 secs from UAE-based French rider Benjamin Melot that ended up jogger for the second year in a row, however it was a tense second leg for the Emirati star.
Lying fourth overnight, he benefitted from the retired lives of the very first leg's leading 2, South African Aaron Mare and Kuwait's Mohammed Jaffar, yet had a nervous flight to the coating, unsure whether he had enough fuel to finish the stage. It was an excellent day all round for Balooshi, as his younger sibling Sultan took the 3rd podium place.
Saudi Arabia's Ahmed Al Sheghawi gone along with by French co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter in a Toyota Landcruiser landed success in the T2 production autos class.
Meanwhile, the French pairing of Graham Knight and David Watson won the buggies title in their Polaris RZR 1000 while Kuwait's Fahad Al Musallam duplicated in 2015's quads victory on a Yamaha 700 Raptor. Andreas Borgmann topped the nationwide buggies course in a CAN-AM Maverick X3.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club for the UAE and Emirates Automobile Racing Federation, and FIA Vice President for Sporting activity, stated: "This is a young event yet it's already aiming the method forward for rallying in the UAE and the Middle East, and we're confident that it will go from strength to strength in the years ahead."
Przygonski, runner up in 2015's FIA World Cup collection, completed the Nissan special stage to say: "It was a great phase. I maintained pushing and pushing to remain ahead. The surface excelled, navigation excelled. I’m very happy.”
Saudi Seaidan reported: "It was an interesting phase today yet it was difficult. I had to constantly fight Vasilyev making up time against him however I'm incredibly delighted ahead out on top and go across the line prior to him."
Completing the leading six in the cars category were Czechs Martin Prokop and Jan Tomanek in a Ford F-150 Evo, the UAE's Mansour Al Helei and Khalid Al Kendi in a Nissan Grab and UAE-based
Thomas Bell and Patrick McMurren in a Nissan Navara.
A relieved Balooshi got to completion of the Nissan stage to said: "I pushed really hard and didn't quit throughout the last area. I felt there was some mix-up at the refuel with my team-mates, and I went the entire of the second part of the stage not knowing if I had enough fuel."
Melot said: "It was really fast today. I had troubles with the back brake from early and gear box troubles also. For the last 30km I was embeded third equipment. I more than happy to finish and happy to be healthy.”
Occurring under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, the Dubai International Baja powered by Nissan and AW Rostamani was sustained by the Government of Dubai, Dubai Authorities, Dubai District and the General Authority of Sports, Al Ain Water, Emarat and AssetCo. The Nissan Patrol is the main car for the event.
The focus of the cross country rally world currently switches to the UAE capital for the 28th version of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge POWERED BY NISSAN from 24-29 March. The event is the third round of the FIA World Cup collection and preliminary of the FIM Cross Nation Rallies World Champion.
1. Jakub Przygonski / Tom Colsoul (POL / BEL) / MINI John Cooper, 4:10.27
2. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / RUS) / MINI Mini One, 4:14.35
3. Yasir Hamed Seaidan / Aleksei Kuzmich (KSA / RUS) / Toyota Hilux, 4:16.07
4. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (CZE / CZE) / Ford F-150 Evo, 4:46.03
5. Mansoor Al Helei / Khalid Al Kendi (ARE / ARE) / Nissan Pick up, 4:48.52
6. Thomas Bell / Patrick McMurren (ARE / ARE) / Nissan Navara , 4:58.10
7. Shameer Variawa / Zaheer Bodhanya (ARE / ZAF) / Nissan Navara, 5:02.22
8. Luke Botha / Gerhardus Schutte (ZAF / ZAF) / Nissan Navara , 5:19.28
9. Ahmed Al Sheghawi / L.Lichtleuchter (KSA / FRA) / Toyota Landcruiser 6:14.24
10. Graham Knight / David Watson (FRA / FRA) / Polaris RZR 1000 6:15.21
1. Mohammed Al Balooshi (ARE) / KTM SX-F 450, 3:58.39
2. Benjamin Melot (ARE) / KTM SX-F 450, 4:01.35
3. Sultan Balooshi (ARE) / KTM SX-F 450,4:08.42
4. Manuel Lucchese (ITA) Yamaha 450,4:32.25
5. Richard Brewer (ARE) / YAMAHA YZ 450 FX,4:33.03
6. Shannon O’Connor (ARE) / KTM SX-F 450, 4:35.14
7. Abdulla Bin Dakhan (ARE) / HUS QVARNA FX 450, 4:43.26
8. Fahad Al Musallam (KWT) / YAMAHA Raptor 700 R, 4:44.31
9. Joel Certano (ARE) / KTM EXC 500, 4:47.20
10. Abdullah Shatti (KWT) / KTM SX-F 450, 4:52.22