HA’IL (Saudi Arabia): Saudi Arabia’s Essa Al-Dossari and Emirati navigator Ali Hassan Obaid were the class of the field on the second and longest selective section of the 13th Ha’il Nissan International Cross-Country Rally. The fastest time of 4hrs 56min 05sec moved the ED Racing Nissan Navara into a comfortable outright lead of 15min 34sec.

Samai Talab Al-Shammeri and navigator Abdullah Mutar Al-Shammeri had started the morning’s action with a lead of 4min 44sec and they reached the stage finish in an unofficial fifth position in their Nissan Patrol and slipped to second overall.

Al-Dossari said: “I’ve finished today in first place. I was the second car into the stage. Samai was first car on the road, as he came first yesterday. I am leading now, almost 20 minutes on the day’s stage and 15 overnight. The stage was fine, but the first half was a bit difficult and I had to be cautious. I am very happy with my times and I will be in a comfortable mood for the last stage tomorrow.”

There were good stage performances by Muteb Saud Al-Qnoon and Ahmed Abdullah Al-Shuhail, who set the third and seventh quickest times to settle into third and fourth in the general classification.

Overnight T2 leader Meshal Saud Al-Saeedi retired and that paved the way for Muneef Al-Salmani to snatch the category advantage and sixth overall in his Nissan Saudi Arabia-backed Patrol – the King of All Terrains. Talal Al-Thukair led the ATV category on his Can-Am and slotted into fifth place in the general rankings.

The stage was the longest of the entire rally and the longest in the 13-year history of Saudi Arabia’s flagship off-road event. Crews tackled a selective section of 351.01km that started in Radifah and finished in Umm Al-Qulban.

Khalid Al-Furaihi stopped for 25 minutes with technical issues before continuing, but Khaleel Abdulrahman Al-Tuwaijri was less fortunate and rolled his Can-Am on to it side.

Forty of the original 42 starters began the special; Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri had crashed out on Tuesday and Fawaz Aied Al-Shammeri was also a non-starter in his T2 Nissan.

The Ha’il Nissan International Cross-Country Rally is being staged under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz bin Sa’ad bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of Ha’il, President of the Supreme Commission for Ha’il Development and the Head of the Supreme Commission of the Ha’il Rally.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is the fourth and final day of the Ha’il Nissan International Cross-Country Rally. The route includes a selective section of 168.57km that starts near Al-Ghazalah and finishes close to Ha’il.

13th Ha’il Nissan International Cross-Country Rally – positions after SS3 (unofficial – 15.14hrs):

  1. Essa Al-Dossari (SAU)/Ali Hassan Obaid (ARE) Nissan Patrol 7hrs 24min 38sec
  2. Samai Talab Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Abdullah Mutar Al-Shammei (SAU) Nissan 7hrs 40min 12sec
  3. Muteb Saud Al-Qnoon (SAU)/Abdullah Al-Qnoon (SAU) Nissan 7hrs 51min 57sec
  4. Ahmed Al-Shuhail (SAU)/Rasheed Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan Patrol 7hrs 55min 45sec
  5. Talal Al-Thukair (SAU)/Saleh Al-Shebanah (SAU) Can-Am 8hrs 02min 56sec
  6. Muneef Al-Salmani (SAU)/Ali Al-Saiyari (SAU) Nissan Patrol 8hrs 20min 33sec
  7. Ahmed Al-Shegawi (SAU)/Alexei Kuzmich (RUS) Nissan Patrol 8hrs 21min 09sec
  8. Khalid Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Hani Munif Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan 8hrs 21min 35sec
  9. Yousef Al-Suweidi (SAU)/Ziad Al-Harbi (SAU) Nissan Patrol 8hrs 25min 42sec
  10. Saleh Abdullah Al-Saif (SAU)/Abdulsalem Al-Shammeri (SAU) Can-Am 8hrs 26min 16sec
  11. Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Murdi Mutair Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan 8hrs 29min 23sec
  12. Khalid Nafeaa Al-Hamzani (SAU)/Fahad Al-Omar (SAU) Nissan 8hrs 51min 37sec

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