QATAR’S ADEL ABDULLA CLOSES THE GAP ON T2 LEADER WITH SECOND PLACE IN ITALIAN BAJA
PORDENONE (ITALY): Qatar’s Adel Abdulla and French navigator Jean-Michel Polato confirmed second position in the T2 category for series production cross-country vehicles at the 25th Italian Baja on Sunday.
The Qatari, driving a new Toyota Land Cruiser, had led the sixth round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies at the overnight halt before incurring time penalties and he eventually reached the finish in Pordenone 7min 34.7sec behind the Polish duo of Tomasz Piec and Michal Marczewski in their Toyota Land Cruiser.
Adel said: “We started the day leading T2. It was in our minds that the stage would be tough because it was the fourth and fifth passes for all the cars, albeit from the other direction. We pushed in the good places and I was careful in the bad places, especially in the rivers.
“Around 12km from the finish, we had a battery signal on and off and something was wrong with the alternator. We finished the stage with a good time and maintained our lead. We came back to service and the mechanics discovered that the alternator had broken in the mud. Service time was only 30 minutes, so it took us 46 minutes to change it and we were given a 16-minute penalty because of that.
“We dropped from first to second by 11 minutes. I pushed really hard on the last stage to try to catch the Polish driver. We took time back but we finished in second position. It is a good result after all the problems we had from the beginning of the race and the 18 points is important. We managed to take three points from Al-Shegawi. There are still five rounds to go and the gap is only 23 points.
“I say a big thanks to the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and Ooredoo Qatar for their support and to our Government for making this possible.”