Abu Dhabi, UAE, 24 March, 2018: The UAE’s Khalid Al Qassimiand Poland’s Jakub Przygonski produced a dead heat on the super special spectator stage which launched the 28th Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan today.
Al Qassimi, partnered by Xavier Panseri in his Peugeot Abu Dhabi Racing Team 3008 DKR,
andPrzygonskiwith Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoulin a Mini John Cooper, shared the fastest time of 1 min 11.1 secs as 36cars and buggies went into action over a 1.9km time trial on the Grand Prix circuit.
Earlier, the 33 bikes and quads taking part in the event set off in groups of four on an exhibition tour of the super stage as the rally warmed up for five days of spectacular cross country rallying to follow in the deserts of the Al Dafrah Region.
The cars, buggies, bikes and quads were flagged of into the super stage by H.E. Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the General Authority for Sport, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the ATCUAE and FIA Vice President for Sport, Prince Khaled Al Faisal, President of the Motor Federation Of Saudi Arabia, and KalyanaSivagnanam, President Nissan Middle East and Regional Vice-President Africa, Middle East & India Region.
Prior to the super stage Sulayem, who won 14 FIA Middle East Rally championship titles in a record-breaking career, displayed his legendary driving skills in a series of circuit laps at the wheel of a Nissan Patrol, the official car for the event.
Fastest times on super special spectator stage
1. Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi / Xavier Panseri (ARE /FRA) / Peugeot 3008 DKR 1:11.1
2. Jakub Przygonski / Tom Colsoul (POL / BEL) / Mini John Cooper 1:11.1
3. Harry Hunt / Sebastien Delauney (GBR / FRA) / Peugeot 2008 DKR 1:13.7
4. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (CZE / CZE) / Ford F-150 Evo 1:13.9
5. Luc Alphand / Andreas Schultz (FRA / DEU) / John Cooper Works Buggy 1:14.3
6. Terence Marsh / Riaan Greyling (ZAF / ZAF) / Nissan Navara 1.14.6
7. YasirHamedSeaidan / AlekseiKuzmich (KSA / RUS) / Toyota Hilux Overdrive 1:14.8
8. ShameerVariawa / ZaheerBodhanya (ARE / ZAF) / Nissan Navara 1.15.3
9. Luke Olholm / Dale Moscatt (AUS / AUS) / Centrury Racing CR6 1:15.3
10. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / RUS) / Mini Cooper Countryman 1:17.5
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