(MENAFN - Arab News) Qatar's nasser saleh al-attiyah spain's joan barreda and qatar's mohammed abu issa confirmed victories in the car motorcycle and quad categories at the sealine cross-country rally on friday. final stage victories fell to brazil's reinaldo varela honda's helder rodrigues and abu issa although the rodrigues stage time remains provisional.
al-attiyah and french co-driver matthieu baumel's winning margin was 1hr 16min 56sec. the qatari duly confirmed his second victory in the progressive sealine event in three years. he moves into contention for a second fia world cup success and will now represent the x-raid team at next month's pharoahs rally in egypt.
'this was a very tough race and i am so happy to win at home" said al-attiyah. 'i am also very pleased for matthieu. this was a big test for him and we made only one small mistake all week. that was a superb job with such difficult navigation. i tried not to damage the car and drive safely but also quickly. the mini was perfect." fia world cup leader vladimir vasilyev and last year's winning co-driver konstantin zhiltsov managed to overhaul poland's adam malysz (toyota) to claim second position in a second mini all4 racing. malysz fell behind teammate marek dabrowski as well and slipped to fourth over the closing kilometers.
barreda played the honda motorcycle tactics to perfection to catch ktm's marc coma on the stage and race with the defending champion to the finish to claim a second successive fim cross-country rallies world championship win for team hrc rally.
'this is really good" said a delighted barreda. 'we are all now as a team at a high level. the bikes the riders and the mechanics are all working together and it is nearly one year ago in sardinia since ktm won a world championship race. we have been improving all the time and paolo's (goncalves) win in abu dhabi and my win here is fantastic. i was disappointed after the dakar but this is special." coma held on to seal second position a mere 1min 23sec behind barreda and the unofficial fastest time on the final stage moved rodrigues into an unofficial final podium place.
'you know i push as hard as i could but the starting order did not work in our favor at all" said coma. 'i lost some vital time on the first day and this is a short race and there is no way to make up that time. i am still happy with my performance." thirty-four minutes lost on day three after navigational delays cost poland's rafal sonik dearly and he was never going to be able to recoup that loss and prevent the host nation's abu issa from taking a hard-earned quad title by a comfortable margin.
'a great feeling to win here and brilliant to cross the last dunes where i normally come and play" said abu issa. 'my strategy was to follow rafal this morning and catch him and i did that. but then i punctured and had to stop and then had to catch him again.