Reigning FIA World Cup champion Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah produced a first leg masterclass to take control in the Dubai International Baja powered by AW Rostamani and Nissan on Friday while French rider Benjamin Melot grabbed the lead in the bikes contest.
Partnered by French co-driver Mathieu Baumel in a Toyota Hilux, Al Attiyah powered to a lead of 6 minutes 12 seconds after the day’s two stages ahead of UAE’s Shaikh Khalid Al Qasimi and Khalid Al Kendi in their Abu Dhabi Racing Peugeot 2008 DKR.
Former Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge quads champion Mohammad Abu Eisa of Qatar finished the stage another 6 minutes 52 seconds away in third place in a Mini All4 Racing in the second round of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
Czech Republic driver Miroslav Zapletal in a Hummer, Frenchman Ronan Chabot in a Toyota Hilux and World Cup first round winner Aron Domzala of Poland in another Hilux completed the top six.
Capitalising on the early retirement of Dubai-based Dakar Rally champion Sam Sunderland with mechanical problems, Melot completed the first leg holding a lead of 1 minute 28 seconds over South African rider Mark Ackerman, with Italian Alessandro Ruoso in third, just ahead of top Emirati rider Mohammad Al Beloushi. (QNA)