FIA MIDDLE EAST RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP – RALLY QATAR (ROUND 1/5)
Qatar’s motor sport star Nasser Al-Attiyah as soon as once more set the file by sealing his 14th win on his dwelling occasion Rally Qatar, which launched the FIA Center East Rally Championship from 14 to 16 March. The 14-time FIA MERC champion additionally celebrated his 70th general win within the championship and first victory with the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 whereas his French co-driver Matthieu Baumel duly claimed his third win in Qatar and a profession 18th within the Center East competitors. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (QAT) and Marshall Clarke (GBR) confirmed second with a Skoda Fabia R5 whereas Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani (QAT) and Dale Moscatt (AUS) took third place on the rostrum with a Ford Fiesta R5.
Al-Attiyah and Baumel received the season opener in spectacular style by setting the quickest time in all eleven particular levels and ending with a lead of 3min 29.6sec after 203.72 labeled kilometres. The success additionally marked the primary general FIA Championship win for Volkswagen’s Polo GTI R5 that made its debut on the FIA World Rally Championship in Spain final October and claimed FIA WRC 2 success in Sweden in February within the fingers of Norwegian driver Ole Christian Veiby. It was a cheerful ending for the pair, who had retired within the final two editions of Rally Qatar.
Their closest challenger Al-Kuwari and Clarke received to grips with their Škoda Fabia R5 because the occasion progressed and completed in a snug second place. The Qatari stated he’ll proceed testing within the desert to enhance the set-up.
Sheikh Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani, the 1993 regional champion, claimed his first podium end on the occasion since 2010 to offer the host nation a primary 1-2-Three end since Al-Attiyah’s final dwelling win in 2016.
Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri combined it with the R5 automobiles for a lot of the rally earlier than slipping again to sixth general after the penultimate stage. The Mitsubishi driver’s comfort was a large profitable margin of 18min 34.1sec within the FIA MERC 2.
Defending MERC Three champion Henry Kahy received the defence of his title off to the proper begin with 11th general and first within the two-wheel drive class.
The second of a complete 5 rounds of the 2019 MERC, Rally Jordan, will happen from 25 to 27 April.
Discover the FIA MERC general standings right here and take a look at the Rally Qatar photograph gallery!
FIA EUROPEAN RALLY TROPHY BENELUX & CELTIC
Whereas the FIA MERC motion was in full swing underneath scorching solar within the Qatari dunes, Europe hosted two rounds of the 2019 FIA European Rally Trophy – the season openers of the Benelux and Celtic collection – in considerably colder and extra humid situations!
BENELUX RALLY TROPHY – SIJPERDA ZUIDERZEE RALLY (ROUND 1/5)
Holland’s native champion Hans Weisj Jr. and co-driver Tim Rietveld claimed victory on the Zuiderzee Rally (15-16 March), which kicked off the Benelux collection of the 2019 FIA European Rally Trophy. The pair introduced their Ford Fiesta R5 on step one of the rostrum, forward of countrymen Kevin Van Deijne and Hein Verschuuren in a Skoda Fabia R5. Third place went to Danemark’s Kristian Poulsen and Ole Frederiksen, driving one other Fabia R5.
Two Dutch and a couple of Danish crews made it to the ultimate classification of the FIA ERT’s Benelux occasion after seven particular levels on tarmac across the metropolis of Emmeloord and over 160 aggressive kilometres run in moist situations on Friday and Saturday.
Try the Sijperda Zuiderzee’s photograph gallery! (photograph credit: Johan Vis Fotografie).
The provisional 2019 ERT Benelux Standings could be consulted right here.
CELTIC RALLY TROPHY – WEST CORK INTERNATIONAL RALLY (ROUND 1/5)
FIA World Rally Championship contenders till final 12 months Craig Breen and Paul Nagle from Eire have been the winners of the Celtic championship’s opening spherical in a Ford Fiesta R5. Their Ulster challengers Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble took second in one other Fiesta R5 whereas Nice Britain’s Tom Cave and James Morgan completed third general of their Hyundai i20.
Waterford rally ace Breen and his Killarney co-driver Nagle have been the crew to beat on the Irish occasion final week. The duo set the quickest time in 5 out of the fifteen particular levels and confortably drove their Ford Fiesta to victory.
Britons Fisher and Noble have been solely 22.2 seconds behind after two days of aggressive motion, with Cave and Morgan ending third general, one other 15 seconds down. Present British champion Matt Edwards, navigated by his codriver Walsh Patrick, took fourth place on the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5.
Former World Rally Championship champion Mikko Hirvonen was additionally among the many rally contenders on the beginning line however competing within the Nationwide Rally championship in a Ford Escort.
Watch the photograph choice, and the provisional 2019 ERT Celtic Standings could be consulted right here.
UCOMING: 2019 FIA ERT RALLY AZORES & FIA ERT IBERIAN RALLY SIERRA MORENA
FIA EUROPEAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP – RALLY AZORES, PORTUGAL (ROUND 1/8)
Nonetheless in Europe however underneath barely hotter skies, the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship fires up in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean this weekend (21-23 March), with Rally Azores internet hosting the opener (out of eight occasions) of what’s set to be one other thrilling chase for on-stage glory.
The motion will happen round Ponta Delgada, São Miguel with 15 gravel levels and a complete of 223.93 aggressive kilometres, which would be the playground for established stars together with defending champion Alexey Lukyanuk and double title winner Marijan Griebel, nationwide champions, class stalwarts – plus a number of younger prospects aiming to show their expertise in ERC Junior – competing in an thrilling array of equipment. The occasion on the archipelago’s largest island is among the most spectacular on the worldwide calendar : gravel assessments criss-cross breath-taking surroundings and plush countryside, and are characterised by their sandy floor and slim, undulating nature.
There are a number of levels from the Azores broadcast reside and you’ll observe the rally on Fb. That’s an exhilarating begin to the season in retailer!
FIA EUROPEAN RALLY TROPHY IBERIAN – RALLY SIERRA MORENA, SPAIN (ROUND 2/8)
There’s loads of rally motion this week-end and this consists of additionally Spherical 2 of the FIA European Rally Trophy’s Iberian collection: Rally Sierra Morena in Spain.
After Rali Serras de Fafe, the season opener in Portugal a couple of weeks in the past which noticed the victory of Spain’s WRC hero Dani Sordo, the rivals will battle it out across the Andalusian metropolis of Cordoba within the South of the nation – the chance for the numerous Spanish entrant crews to check their abilities on dwelling soil on this 37th version of the occasion.