QATAR HOSTS MIDDLE EAST CUP FOR CROSS-COUNTRY BAJAS’S ROUND TWO WITH TOP ENTRANTS AL-ATTIYAH AND AL-RAJHI
WRC stars Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo to drive Nasser Racing Can-Am Mavericks
Local hero Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Saudi Arabian rival Yazeed Al-Rajhi head an impressive 28-car entry for the Qatar International Baja, the second round of the FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.
The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) has also confirmed that WRC stars Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo will compete in the Baja for the first time in a pair of Can-Am Maverick X3s entered by Nasser Racing in the FIA T3 category and run on the event by South Racing.
Overdrive Racing will oversee the top three seeded T1 drivers in a trio of Toyota Hiluxes, with Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel driving their latest T1+ specification Toyota GR DKR, alongside Al-Rajhi and fellow Saudi Yasir Seaidan in two older specification Hiluxes.
Main competition to the Toyota trio in the T1 category comes from Czech veteran Miroslav Zapletal (Ford F-150 Evo) and a group of experienced regional drivers in a variety of Nissans, a Jeep and a powerful Chevrolet. These include Qatar’s Abdullah Al-Rabban and Saudi Arabia's Khalid Al-Feraihi and Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri.
Meeke has tackled two Qatar special stage rallies and one Dakar Rally in a career where the main focus has been on his exploits in the FIA World Rally Championship. The Andorra-based Ulsterman teams up with Frenchman François Cazalet.
Sordo is making his first competitive appearance on an event in the Gulf region and his debut on the cross-country rallying scene in a T3 lightweight prototype Can-Am. A third Nasser Racing Maverick will be in the hands of Al-Attiyah’s brother Khalifa and his Italian co-driver Max Delfino.
Six South Racing and SRT-run Can-Ams have been entered by Qatar’s QMMF Team for Ahmed Al-Kuwari, Ahmed Al-Muhannadi, former FIA T2 World Champion Adel Abdulla, Abdullah Al-Kuwari, Khalid Al-Muhannadi and Rashid Al-Muhannadi. Veteran Qatari rally driver Sadoon Al-Kuwari also returns to try his hand in a T4 Can-Am.
Seventeen-year-old female Emirati racer Aliyyah Koloc is the early pace-setter in the FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Rallies Drivers’ Championship and the FIA T3 section. The Can-Am pilot has 40 points to Hamad Al-Harbi’s 33 points and Muneef Al-Salmani’s 25. All three will take part in Qatar.
Koloc returns to action with Buggyra ZM Racing, alongside her twin sister Yasmeen in a second car. Recent Jordan Baja winner Saleh Al-Saif is also entered in the T3 section in a Team Black Horse Can-Am X3 RR.
The experienced San Marino-based Camelia Liparoti will be competing for T4 honours in her Yamaha YXZ 1000R, while Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri is the top seed in this category.
The 2022 Baja is being held under the chairmanship of QMMF President Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, QMMF’s Executive Director Amro Al-Hamad and board member Abdulrazaq Al-Kuwari.
2022 Qatar International Baja – leading entries:
200. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (AND) Toyota GR DKR Hilux
201. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Michael Orr (GBR) Toyota Hilux Overdrive
202. Yasir Seaidan (SAU)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive
203. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SVK) Ford F-150 Evo
204. Abdullah Al-Rabban (QAT)/Pedro Santos (PRT) Jeep
205. Khalid Al-Feraihi (SAU)/Ali Mirza (ARE) Nissan Pick-Up
206. Salem Al-Dhafeeri (KWT)/Fares Al-Thefiri (KWT) Nissan Patrol
207. Mohammed Al-Mannai (QAT)/Feras Allouh (QAT) Chevrolet
208. Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri (SAU)/TBA Nissan Pick-Up
209. Abdullah Al-Haydan (SAU)/Faisal Ftyh (SAU) Nissan Patrol
Timetable of events
Thursday, March 24
Scrutineering, Losail International Circuit 07.00hrs onwards
Ceremonial start, Losail International Circuit First car - 15.30hrs
Stage 1 - Qualifying Stage (9.2km) First car - 16.00hrs
Friday, March 25
Stage 2 - 122.73km First car - 09.05hrs
Stage 3 - 124.86km First car - 11.25hrs
Saturday, March 26
Stage 4 - 200.39km First car - 10.55hrs
Ceremonial finish, Losail International Circuit 18.30hrs