18:50 – And that’s it from ATCL. Tamer Ghandour is the provisional 39th Rally of Lebanon winner. We hope you enjoyed our live coverage. Stay tuned for pictures and videos on the website and social media channels!
18:45 – Matthias Njeim: “Rally of Lebanon is the best rally I’ve ever done. The target was to get to the finish line and this is what we did.”
18:44 – Patrick Njeim: “We were aiming to win the RC4 category and that is what we managed to do in the end. Majed Khoury’s retirement was unfortunate, but we’re happy with our own work.”
18:40 – Abou Hamdan: “I’m so happy to have won the Lebanese Rally Championship FWD title and the RC3 category in Rally of Lebanon. It doesn’t get any better than this. I’m very grateful to everyone who has been on my side.”
18:38 – Feghali: “We were given a 5-minute time penalty because we drove on a road section with a tireless wheel, but it is unclear why the penalty was 5 minutes. We’re going to appeal the decision to the FIA. However, I believe Tamer deserves the victory as much as we do.”
18:36 – Rahi: “It was a very difficult rally but we’re very happy to have achieved our target, which is winning the Group N category. It’s very rewarding especially after a long and difficult season.”
18:35 – Ghandour: “It’s an amazing feeling and it’s the best you can do for your team and your sponsors. I share this victory with my co-driver Salim Jleilaty who worked as hard for this.”
18:33 – The post-rally drivers’ press conference is underway with Tamer Ghandour, Rodrigue Rahi, Abdo Feghali, Patrick Njeim, Matthias Njeim and Bassel Abou Hamdan.
18:30 – Major controversy on the 39th Rally of Lebanon podium as Tamer was announced winner of the event, while Abdo Feghali was demoted to 3rd place after picking up a penalty. Details here.
15:11 – Tamer Ghandour reaches the finish line, that’s the 2nd place overall for him! Rodrigue Rahi is also through, completing the top 3.
15:06 – Abdo punctured his right front tyre in this stage but does it in 13 minutes 08.77 seconds to win the 39th Rally of Lebanon and secure his first ever victory at the event!
15:01 – The 11th and final stage in Zabbougha is currently underway. Abdo doesn’t need to push as he’s 1 minute 44 seconds clear of Tamer.
14:49 – The leaders in every category: Abdo Feghali (Overall), Rodrigue Rahi (Group N), Bassel Abou Hamdan (RC3), Patrick Njeim (RC4), Matthias Njeim (RC5).
14:22 – Just one more stage to go: a second run through the 20-kilometer Zabbougha stage.
14:11 – No issues reported in this stage, everything seems to be going smoothly for everyone. We don’t think anyone’s pushing at this stage of the rally.
13:57 – It’s close between Bassel Abou Hamdan and Henry Massaad today with the former going 2 seconds quicker in this stage. Click here for live timing.
13:47 – Abdo completes the stage in 10 minutes 36 seconds, so that’s 9 seconds faster than Tamer’s time in the first loop. Meanwhile, Tamer is almost 40 seconds slower this time around!
13:40 – The penultimate stage in Zandouka is currently underway with rally leaders Abdo Feghali and Marc Haddad the first car out.
13:05 – Bassel Abou Hamdan leads the front-wheel drive and RC3 classes, 44 seconds clear of Henry Massaad.
13:00 – Everyone will probably take it easy in the last two stages and ensure they can get to the finish line. Abdo Feghali leads by 52 seconds from Tamer Ghandour. Rodrigue Rahi and Eddy Abou Karam are 3rd and 4th overall and 1st and 2nd in Group N. Rodolphe Asmar rounds out the top 5.
12:30 – It’s service time for all the teams at the moment. SS10 in Zandouka starts at 13:34, which is an hour from now.
11:26 – We spoke to soon… Emile Abou Karam and Thierry Rouhana are out of the rally due to an engine failure in their Mitsubishi Evo IX.
11:20 – Besides Nasser’s retirement and Abdo’s puncture, it’s been a relatively quiet morning for everyone else. Matthias Njeim also suffered from a puncture in Zandouka, and there haven’t been any problems other than that.
11:01 – Now we know why Abdo’s lost time… However, he was able to finish the stage and his lead is therefore intact.
10:55 – Abdo loses a lot of time in Zabbougha, nearly 3 minutes 30 seconds to Tamer Ghandour who has gone quickest. Impressive pace by the TGRS drivers Rodrigue Rahi and Eddy Abou Karam who are not far behind Tamer.
10:46 – Here’s footage of rally leaders Abdo Feghali and Marc Haddad live from Zabbougha (SS9). You’ll find more videos by checking our stories on Instagram (@Biser3a).
10:22 – Today’s second special in Zabbougha will start in just a few minutes. It’s the longer of the two stages with 20 kilometer distance, compared to 17 km in Zandouka.
10:03 – Some of the drivers who retired yesterday chose not to participate today, including Roger Feghali, Robert Aaraj and Majed Khoury.
09:42 – A puncture for Abdo Feghali in this stage, but he was able to finish it in 10 minutes 54.6 seconds. Rodrigue Rahi wins this stage after clocking 10 minutes 45.5 seconds.
09:34 – And now we’re told that he has stopped! Nasser did not reach the finish line Zandouka, which means Tamer Ghandour is now up to 2nd place, whilst Rodrigue Rahi is 3rd.
09:25 – Nasser Al Attiyah was reportedly involved in a small accident but we’re told he was able to continue.
09:22 – Roger Feghali will not return for today’s competition after retiring yesterday due to a mechanical problem.
08:55 – Yesterday was also a good day for Eddy Abou Karam and the TGRS team who secured the Lebanese Rally Championship Group N title.
08:52 – Abdo Feghali goes into the second day with a comfortable 1 minute 21-second lead. Will he push or will he play it safe today? We’ll find out in 30 minutes.
08:28 – Today’s first special is in Zandouka. Rally leader Abdo Feghali will be the first to tackle it at 9:13, which is less than an hour from now.
08:25 – Good morning everyone, it’s the final day of the 39th Rally of Lebanon. There will be 4 special stages today held in Zandouka and Zabbougha. Their total is 75 kilometer, which is 55 km less than yesterday.
__ Sunday, September 4, 2016 __
16:10 – Leg 1 of the 39th Rally of Lebanon comes to an end with Abdo Feghali powering to a comfortable lead, followed by Nasser Al-Attiyah and Tamer Ghandour. Click here for the report and overall results.
15:40 – Khalid Al Suwaidi and Abudallah Al Kuwari have both retired after going off the road in today’s final stage in Sourat – SS7. Luckily, the two crews are okay.
15:25 – Abdo Feghali completes Saturday’s final stage and continues to expand his gap to Nasser. This time, he goes 14 seconds faster than Nasser. Abdo ends the day with 1 minute 20-second lead over the Qatari.
15:03 – Patrick Njeim is currently 3rd in front-wheel drive after Robert Aaraj’s retirement; he’s followed by Rony Kanaan in 4th place. Robert is the fifth retirement so far.
14:49 – Some of the less experienced Group N drivers are doing great so far; we’re talking about the likes of Michel Slaiby, Nadim Halabi and Raafat Al Mohtar who are still running fine.
14:40 – Eddy Abou Karam has raised his game in this stage; he has gone 20 seconds faster than Rodrigue Rahi and Rabih Ayoub!
14:33 – There’s no stopping Abdo. He finishes his second run in Kfarhilda in 10 minutes 08.13 seconds and goes 14 seconds quicker than Nasser. The gap now is more than a minute, which should allow him to take it easy tomorrow, but will he? We doubt it…
14:25 – Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram (@Biser3a) and follow our stories live from the stages.
14:19 – Tony Helou and Matthias Njeim complete the stage – both of them doing great so far in their Rally of Lebanon debut.
14:06 – In the battle for front-wheel drive supremacy, Henry Massaad managed to shave off one second from Bassel Abou Hamdan who remains in the class lead. Robert Aaraj appears to have stopped after his gearbox issues.
13:58 – Eddy Abou Karam appears to be taking things slow as he aims to secure the Group N title. He was 48 seconds slower than his team-mate Rodrigue Rahi in this stage.
13:56 – Abdo is still on fire! He’s 10 seconds faster than Nasser in Ain Aaya this time around and extends his lead to 53 seconds! Tamer Ghandour, Rodrigue Rahi and Eddy Abou Karam also safely through the stage. Click here for live timing.
13:46 – A stage time of 18 minutes 20.0 seconds has been given to all of the drivers that could not complete SS4 following Gilbert Bannout’s accident.
13:38 – Nasser is the first one out in Ain Aaya 2, let’s see what he can do. It’s him against Abdo Feghali now with Roger Feghali unfortunately out of the picture.
13:08 – The second loop kicks off with Ain Aaya 2 in about just over 20 minutes. Can Nasser reduce the 43 seconds he lost to Abdo?
13:03 – The provisional top 6 after SS4 from 1st to 6th: Abdo Feghali, Nasser Al-Attiyah, Tamer Ghandour, Rodrigue Rahi, Rabih Ayoub, Eddy Abou Karam.
12:51 – SS4 times are still unresolved, so everything is provisional so far.
12:50 – Despite his gearbox issues, Robert Aaraj is an impressive third in RC3, behind Bassel Abou Hamdan and Henry Massaad.
12:47 – Front-wheel drive competitors Elie Nehme and Walid Chlink have had their fair share of problems as well, with both of them going off but managing to resume their rallies without any major problems.
11:41 – The retirements after today’s morning stages: Roger Feghali, Gilbert Bannout, Majed Khoury and Nidal Jurdi.
11:35 – Tamer Ghandour says he’s very happy with the car and that he really enjoyed the stages this morning. With Roger’s retirement, Tamer is now up to 3rd overall in the Evo X R4.
11:18 – Roger Feghali will not resume his rally. He’s out for today – possible due to a mechanical problem – and will return under rally 2 rules tomorrow. He was 2nd overall and 10 seconds ahead of Nasser Al-Attiyah.
11:03 – A retirement for Majed Khoury whose Skoda Fabia R2 stopped due to a mechanical issue.
10:58 – Nasser is not very happy with the setup of his Fabia R5, saying that it’s a bit too soft for his liking.
10:46 – We’re happy to know that both Gilbert and his co-driver Sabrina De Castelli survived the accident. In the meantime, Abdo has just reached the service area and told us he’s very comfortable in the car.
10:19 – The stage has been stopped due to an accident by Ford Fiesta R5 driver Gilbert Bannout. He was running 5th overall. All cars behind him have stopped.
10:12 – More drama as Group N competitors hit trouble: Rodolphe Asmar and Rabih Ayoub are reported to be driving slow.
10:10 – Drama for Roger Feghali! The 12-time ROL winner has reportedly suffered from a puncture in SS4 and loses valuable time as a result. Abdo Feghali beats Nasser Al Attiyah by 17 seconds in this stage and further extends his lead.
10:03 – The top 3 overall: Abdo Feghali, Roger Feghali +18 seconds, Al-Attiyah +28 seconds.
09:54 – Nasser Al Attiyah is currently tackling the fourth special in Sourat. His time should appear shortly. The top 3 in Group N are: Ayoub, Rahi and Halabi.
09:42 – An off moment for Tony Helou, who’s contesting Rally of Lebanon for the first time. Luckily, he manages to resume. In the meantime, Nidal Jurdi has stopped – it seems to be a mechanical issue.
09:33 – Gearbox issues for Robert Aaraj, which explains his slow time in SS3. The driver says he cannot select 1st and 2nd gears and only has 3rd gear and above available.
09:26 – Rabih Ayoub does very well in this stage and takes the Group N category lead as Bassel Abou Hamdan maintains first position in RC3.
09:17 – Nasser completed the SS3 in 10 minutes 23 seconds and Roger beats it by 11 seconds, while Abdo extends his lead by securing the fastest time: 10 minutes 07.80 seconds.
09:11 – A flying start by Nabil Abdelhak, he’s 4th overall and 1st in Group N. He’s far from the top 3, but can be considered best of the rest.
09:02 – Al-Attiyah has just taken the start in SS3 in Kfarhila as more and more driver complete SS2. Click here for live timing, in case you were wondering what the times are.
08:59 – Patrick Njeim continues to prove what a talented driver he is by matching and beating some of the Group N drivers in a Peugeot 208 R2.
08:51 – Michel Slaiby had an off moment but manages to rejoin the race. Meanwhile, Bassel Abu Hamdan leads the RC3 standings and is 11 seconds ahead of Robert Aaraj.
08:43 – Great job by Rodrigue Rahi in the Evo IX; he leads the Group N standings after posting the quickest time in his category, followed by Rodolphe Asmar. Eddy Abou Karam seems not to be pushing as he seeks to secure the Group N title.
08:36 – Roger goes as quick as Nasser! He finishes the stage in 10 minutes 22 seconds as well, but Abdo is absolutely flying and beats his rivals by 12 seconds to take the lead of the rally!
08:30 – The two-time Dakar Rally winner completes the stage in 10 minutes 22 seconds. Can Abdo and Roger beat that? We’ll find out in a few minutes.
08:20 – It’s time! Nasser Al-Attiyah takes the start of SS2 in Ain Aaya.
08:08 – Let’s not forget the battles across the different categories: Eddy Abou Karam, Rodolphe Asmar, Rodrigue Rahi and Rabih Ayoub are among the top contenders in Group N. In RC3, it should be close between Robert Aaraj, Bassel Abu Hamdan, Henry Massaad and Rony Kanaan. Of course, a lot of other drivers can also surprise.
08:01 – It’s going to be an interesting fight for the lead between Nasser and Abdo, but we can never write off Roger, even when he’s in an inferior car.
07:55 – Here’s a lovely shot of Al-Attiyah and co-driver Matthieu Baumel negotiating one of RPM Circuit’s turns during yesterday’s Super Special Stage.
07:37 – As a reminder: Nasser Al-Attiyah leads the rally after winning the super special stage yesterday at RPM Circuit, but he’s only half a second ahead of Abdo Feghali.
07:33 – Today, competitors will race on three special stages, twice. The first one is in Ain Aaya, followed by Kfarhila and Sourat. You can click here for the itinerary.
07:29 – Here’s the Mitsubishi Evo X zero car driven by Patrick Karam leaving the service area a few minutes ago.
07:23 – Good morning! We’re live from the service area in Fouad Chehab this morning. Crews are entering a 15-minute service before heading to the first special in Ain Aaya.
__ Saturday, September 3, 2016 __
19:45 – It’s Nasser Al-Attiyah who wins the Super Special Stage this evening! He beat Abdo Feghali by half a second, while Roger Feghali finished 3rd – 1 second behind Abdo. Click here for the results. Here’s the top 5:
|1||1||Nasser Al Attiyah||02:01.4|
|4||10||Khalid Al Suwaidi||02:07.8|
19:21 – Nasser and Abdo successfully finish their runs, signaling the end of the 39th Rally of Lebanon Super Special Stage. We’ll update you with the times as soon as they are published.
19:16 – The most anticipated cars go out on track: It’s Nasser Al Attiyah vs Abdo Feghali at the moment. Beautiful driving by the two Fabia R5 drivers!
19:13 – Delay for Tamer as he stops on track, but he gets the car going again and slowly completes his run. Has he run into mechanical problems?
19:11 – An aggressive and flawless performance by 12-time ROL winner Roger Feghali, whilst Tamer Ghandour is doing very well for himself as well. Both are driving Evo X R4s.
19:02 – It’s getting darker and darker by the minute; it’s Eddy Abou Karam and Rodolphe Asmar now on track and they are both enjoying themselves out there with some spectacular driving. Tony Helou and Rodrigue Rahi are up next.
18:58 – The big guns are out. Currently, Khalid Al Suwaidi and Gilbert Bannout on the circuit as nightfall looms.
18:54 – Abou Hamdan leads the RC3 championship, but Kanaan is not very far behind and will be taking the fight to Bassel in order to win his first title.
18:49 – Still no times published. Group N drivers Rabih Ayoub and Michel Slaiby have just completed putting their Mitsubishi Evos through their paces and now it’s Bassel Abou Hamdan and Rony Kanaan’s turn.
18:41 – Front-wheel drive rivals Henry Massaad and Robert Aaraj will both be aiming for the RC3 class victory in the 39th Rally of Lebanon, but who’s gonna put on a better show for the fans tonight? They’re both out on track.
18:32 – There seems to be a timing issue as the ATCL is yet to publish any laptimes. In the meantime, Qatari drivers Rashed Al Naimi and Abdullah Al Kuwari are racing on the circuit.
18:29 – RC4 championship rivals Patrick Njeim and Majed Khoury finish the Super Special Stage. Raafat Al Mohtar is now on track spins the Evo but safely continues his run; he’s joined by Mathieu Reboisson on the circuit.
18:21 – Unfortunately, we have no times as of yet. Nabil Abdelhak (Evo X) and Nadim Halabi (Evo VIII) are on track as we type this. Both of them are executing some nice powerslides.
18:15 – TGRS team-mates Emile Abou Karam and Osmat Saifi successfully complete their runs without any issues – both driving Mitsubishi Evo IXs. They’re followed by Elie Nehme and Walid Chlink – both in Renault Clio R3s.
18:06 – Nassib spins the Citroen but manages to resume his lap. Meanwhile, Nidal is enjoying a smooth run so far.
18:00 – Matthias Njeim completed his run; his time should appear soon. Nassib Nassar in the Citroen DS3 R3 and Nidal Al Jurdi in the Renault Clio RS are on track.
17:55 – After a bit of delay, the first competitor is now finally out on track: Matthias Njeim in the Suzuki Swift Sport. Let’s see what the teenager can do.
17:30 – Paul Kossaifi is currently putting on a show for the spectators in the BMW E46 that powered him to the Lebanese Hill Climb Championship in 2015. He is joined by Lebanese drifter Rony Deraoui in the Nissan 350Z.
13:55 – An array of activities are scheduled before the Super Special Stage kicks off; several show runs followed by a drift show between 16:00 and 17:30.
13:32 – This year’s super special stage is rather special: two cars will appear on the track at the same time and will race in opposite directions, except for Matthias Njeim who will race alone (We’re sorry Matthias). Here is SS1’s start list:
13:30 – After yesterday’s press conference and ceremonial start, today is when the real action begins. The first special stage of the 39th Rally of Lebanon will take place on the RPM Circuit in Mtein starting 17:30.
___ Friday, September 2, 2016 ___
12:42 – So that’s the end of the drivers’ press conference. Next up is the rally’s ceremonial start tonight at 19:30 from in front of the Jounieh Municipality building in… you guessed it: Jounieh.
12:31 – Bannout: “I missed the whole season due to work commitments but we’re here in Rally of Lebanon thanks to our sponsors and I feel that we have prepared well. Our fight will most likely be with Tamer for 4th place.”
12:29 – Abou Hamdan: “We didn’t have time to prepare for the rally, but it’s a long event and the car feels good so I believe we’re ready for the competition.”
12:27 – Aaraj: “We’re ready for Rally of Lebanon, and I think I have the experience to compete with the guys in my category despite having a slightly inferior car.”
12:24 – Abou Karam: “We’re going to try to win the Group N championship title by pushing on Saturday so that we can take it easy on Sunday.”
12:21 – Ghandour: “I really want to enjoy myself in this rally. There are faster cars that can be a good reference for me and I will do the best I can to finish as close to the front as possible.”
12:18 – Feghali: “I would like to thank Nasser for his kind words. It’s unfortunate that we crashed right before the rally and my chances of winning are now slimmer, but we’re going to do our best to make it hard for Abdo and Nasser.”
12:16 – Al-Attiyah: “Firstly, I would like to say that I’m glad that Roger is safe after his crash in testing. Rally of Lebanon is an event that I am yet to win and I hope I can pull it off this year. Last year, we were fast but retired very early after a mistake, so I’m looking to compensate for that this year.”
12:03 – The drivers appearing at the press conference are: Roger Feghali, Nasser Al-Attiyah, Abdullah Al-Kuwari, Eddy Abou Karam, Gilbert Bannout, Tamer Ghandour, Bassel Abou Hamdan and Robert Aaraj.
12:00 – Good morning everyone (or is it noon?), we’re at ATCL’s headquarters in Kaslik at the moment waiting for the official drivers’ press conference ahead of the 39th Rally of Lebanon.
___ Thursday, September 1, 2016 ___