Sealine Rally: Qatar’s Abdullah aims for second successive win

 14 Apr 2016 - 0:02

Sealine Rally: Qatar’s Abdullah aims for second successive win
Qatar’s Adel Hussein celebrates last week’s T2 win in his Nissan Patrol. He will be hoping to repeat that feat at next week’s Sealine Rally.

DOHA:  Nissans dominate the entry list for the Sealine Cross-Country Rally, round three of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, which takes place across the State of Qatar from  April 17 to 22.
The Japanese manufacturer will be represented by a staggering 15 Nissan Patrol derivatives – one third of the entire 45-car entry – for the gruelling five-day off-road challenge that passes over some of the wildest and most demanding terrain in the country.
Adel Hussein Abdullah returned to Qatar in triumphant mood last weekend after clinching victory in the T2 category for Series Production Cross-Country Vehicles at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. 
Adel and Egyptian navigator Hakam Mohamed Rabeia delivered a superb performance in their Nissan Patrol to finish 13th overall, the success belying the Qatari’s lack of experience in rallying as a car driver – he normally races quads or works as a navigator in special stage rallies. 
“Last weekend was superb for us and now it’s time to repeat that win with the Nissan on home ground,” said Adel Hussein, who also has the early lead in the FIA T2 championship standings after two rounds.
Running with support from Nissan Middle East and Al Masaood Automobiles, Abu Dhabi-based Lebanese Emil Khneisser will be hoping for better luck on this occasion with Russian navigator Alexei Kuzmich. Khneisser was running inside the top three at the start of the event in Abu Dhabi last week, but a niggling engine sensor issue cost him valuable time and crucial championship points. Khneisser finished second in last year’s T2 Championship and knows that a podium finish is needed in Qatar next week.
The T2 category is well supported in Qatar. Among those quite capable of springing a surprise are the Saudi Arabian trio of Ahmed Al Shegawi, Rajeh Al Shammeri and Tariq Al Rammah, Qatar’s Mohammed Al Rashid and Kuwait’s Salem Al Dhafiri. Germany’s Edith Weiss teams up with the experienced American navigator Ron Gainley to round off the Nissan T2 entrants. Saudi Arabia’s Khalid Al Feraihi earned a superb 10th overall at last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in his T1 Nissan Patrol with Omani navigator Abdulhaleem Al Busaidi. He is quite capable of pushing for the top 10 in Qatar as well, although the difficulty of the navigation will put far more pressure on his co-driver on this occasion.
Other T1 Nissan entrants include Sheikh Hamed bid Eid Al Thani, the 1993 FIA Middle East rally champion, former Ha’il Rally winner Ibrahim Al-Muhanna and three all-female prize drive pairings entered in a joint venture between the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and FIA Women in Motorsport.
The French duo of Charlotte Berton and Antonia de Roissard crew the first of three Nissan Patrols. Kiwi Emma Gilmour teams up with Lisette Bakker in the second car and Spain’s Cristina Gutierrez lines up with South Africa’s Sandra Labuscagne in the third Nissan.  
The event gets underway from the Losail International Circuit on April 18.

The Peninsula