HA’IL (Saudi Arabia): Samai Talab Al-Shammeri and navigator Abdullah Mutar Al-Shammeri guided their Nissan Patrol to an unofficial 4min 44sec lead after the first of three desert selective sections at the Ha’il Nissan International Cross-Country Rally on Tuesday.
The local driver clocked an unofficial time of 2hrs 20min 06sec and that was sufficient to beat overnight T1 leader Essa Al-Dossari in his ED Racing Nissan Navara.
The pair were the class of a field that was completely dominated by Nissan drivers. Nine of the top 10 positions were held by the Japanese manufacturer: Ahmed Abdulah Al-Shuhail held third and Meshal Abdulaziz Al-Saeedi and Khalid Abdullah Al-Shammeri rounded off the top five. Al-Saeedi also headed the T2 runners.
ATVs had been inside the top 10 and held the overall advantage after the super special stage, but the desert terrain was not ideally suited to these lightweight, lower powered vehicles and Talal Al-Thukair led the way in 10th overall with his Can-Am.
Muneef Al-Salmani held 11th position and fifth in T2 in his Nissan Patrol – the Hero of All-Terrains. He is running the ex-Emil Khneisser car that is supported by Nissan Saudi Arabia.
Saleh Abdullah Al-Abdulaali was not able to start the stage in his ex-Al-Rajhi Hummer, while a spectacular crash hospitalised the Toyota Land Cruiser crew of Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri and Muath Ababtain. They had been third overall at the start of the day, but were not seriously injured.
Technical issues also plagued the current FIA World Cup T2 champion Yasir Saeidan, Rida Lafi Al-Shammeri and Rajeh Farhan Al-Shammeri.
The Ha’il Nissan International Cross-Country Rally is being staged under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Saud Bin Abdul Mohsen 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 (Wednesday), officials at the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) have laid on a daunting selective section of 351.01km. This starts out of Radifah, 59.93km from Ha’il, at 08.40hrs and finishes in Umm Al-Qulban.
13th Ha’il Nissan International Cross-Country Rally – positions after SS2 (unofficial – 13.24hrs):
- Samai Talab Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Abdullah Mutar Al-Shammei (SAU) Nissan 2hrs 23min 49sec
- Essa Al-Dossari (SAU)/Ali Hassan Obaid (ARE) Nissan Patrol 2hrs 28min 33sec
- Ahmed Al-Shuhail (SAU)/Rasheed Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan Patrol 2hrs 36min 52sec
- Meshaal Al-Saeedi (SAU)/Abdulhaleem Al-Bosaeedi (OMN) Nissan 2hrs 37min 11sec
- Khalid Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Hani Munif Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan 2hrs 39min 58sec
- Mutair Abdullah Al-Shammeri (SAU)/Raed Al-Assaf (SAU) Nissan 2hrs 41min 40sec
- Ahmed Al-Shegawi (SAU)/Alexei Kuzmich (RUS) Nissan Patrol 2hrs 43min 09sec
- Ahmed Al-Shuhail (SAU)/Rasheed Al-Shammeri (SAU) Nissan Patrol 2hrs 45min 03sec
- Muteb Saud Al-Qnoon (SAU)/Abdullah Al-Qnoon (SAU) Nissan 2hrs 45min 45sec
- Talal Al-Thukair (SAU)/Saleh Al-Shebanah (SAU) Can-Am 2hrs 46min 10sec