Monday, March 4, 2024

Nasser Al-Attiyah scores maiden win with Prodrive at Dubai International Baja

Nasser Al-Attiyah did not need long to get used to his new ride in the Prodrive Hunter, and was already a race winner in just his second start for the team.

His début with Prodrive at the Baja Portalegre 500, just two weeks after clinching the World Rally-Raid Championship in his final race for Toyota, was overshadowed by a penalty and lost time to a damaged windshield wiper in the mud of Portugal that relegated him to fifth. The Dubai International Baja, on the other hand, presented wide-open dunes akin to most rounds on the W2RC calendar like the Dakar Rally that gave him a chance to showcase the Hunter’s potential as he won the first two stages before being edged out by Yazeed Al-Rajhi in Stage #3.

Like in the W2RC, Al-Attiyah beat Al-Rajhi for the overall win by over five minutes. The victory also put the bow atop a dominant campaign in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, where Al-Attiyah never finished worse than second in his four Bajas for Toyota and had twice as many points as João Ferreira entering the finale in Dubai. It is his second Bajas title after 2008, while he became the first driver to win a World Cup with two different manufacturers as well as the first to complete the triple crown of a World Cup, World Championship, and Dakar Rally in the same year.

“We really enjoyed being in the car as we worked hard to make a good result for the team too,” said Al-Attiyah. “We learned a lot for the next step, the Dakar. Thank you to the team who got the car here and who have engineered it for us to take this win. It’s a great start to take this victory and get ready for Dakar and think we can make it in Saudi Arabia to win the Dakar in January.”

Ferreira won the T4 class in his first Baja in a Can-Am Maverick for South Racing ahead of European Cup T4 regular Amerigo Ventura. The former, who normally races Bajas in a Mini and intends to continue doing so for the 2024 Portuguese Cross-Country Championship, also won on début in the W2RC’s T4 class at the Rallye du Maroc in October.

Another João Ferreira (full name João Filipe Ferreira Miranda) was also victorious as he called the shots for Otávio Sousa Leite to win the T3 class in both the Dubai Baja and the World Cup. Mshari Al-Thefiri had led Sousa by twenty points going into the finale but was plagued by mechanical issues that forced him to retire and surrender the championship.

Sousa Leite’s father Cristiano de Sousa Batista finished second to him in Dubai, having already clinched the T4 World Cup with a dominant season as he won four races in a row.

“We came into the event with low expectations of becoming the champion. Turns out, all the bad luck throughout the year turned in our favour in this last race,” said Sousa Leite. “We won yesterday’s stage and today my dad secured another victory. Now, we are World Champions.”

Seth Quintero ran his first race as Al-Attiyah’s successor at Toyota Gazoo Racing. Despite the big shoes he had to fill and finishing at the bottom of the leaderboard due to a mechanical issue, he looked like a natural in the Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ with a run that included finishing less than a minute behind Al-Attiyah in Stage #2.

Aliyyah Koloc, the 2022 Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas champion, finished tenth in a Red-Lined REVO T1+, marking her first time running an international rally in the top subcategory. The race had started on a bizarre note for Koloc as logistical issues resulted in a delay while shipping her REVO from South Africa to Dubai; according to father and Buggyra Racing principal Martin Koloc, both ships that they tried to move the vehicle on were delayed for two and three weeks each. The start was intended to provide her with more seat time ahead of her first Dakar in the Ultimate class.

“I think I need to be a bit more aggressive with it,” said Koloc. “For now, I feel I’m being too gentle, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Both events I have done so far with this car, here in Dubai and in South Africa, have definitely helped me grow as a driver, so I’m pleased about that, although we need to drive more in the desert to get more out of the car.”

The FIA’s Middle East Cup and FIM Bajas World Cup also concluded their seasons in Dubai, which became the final race for all three series following the cancellation of the Jordan Baja in response to the war in Gaza. The race was also the last for the World and Middle East Cups under their Cross-Country Bajas identities as they will be rebranded to the World Baja Cup and Middle East Baja Cup for 2024. The European Cup, the other Bajas series under FIA sanction, wrapped up its calendar in October.

Overall winners

Class Number Competitor Team Time
T1 200 Nasser Al-Attiyah Nasser Racing 5:22:52.3
T2 220 Ibrahim Nasser Almuhna Ibrahim Nasser Almuhna 23:09:30.5
T3 301 Otávio Sousa Leite South Racing Can-Am 6:04:05.5
T4 400 João Ferreira South Racing Can-Am 5:48:48.1
450cc 2 Mohammed Al-Balooshi MX Ride Dubai 5:42:25.3
Quad 105 Abdulaziz Ahli Abdulaziz Ahli 6:34:23.1
FIM Junior 76 Jean-Loup Lepan DUUST Diverse Racing 5:53:53
FIM Veteran 50 Richard Brewer Richard Brewer 6:23:38.5
FIM Woman 20 Esther Merino Esther Merino 9:03:52.5

Final FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas standings

World Cup

Drivers

Rank Driver Points Margin
1 Nasser Al-Attiyah 187 Leader
2 Yazeed Al-Rajhi 115 – 72
3 João Ferreira 104 – 83
4 Juan Cruz Yacopini 98 – 89
5 Krzysztof Hołowczyc 75 – 112
6 Otávio Sousa Leite 62 – 125
7 Cristiano de Sousa Batista 61 – 126
8 Mshari Al-Thefiri 51 – 136
9 Michał Małuszyński 41 – 146
10 Dania Akeel 34 – 153
11 Lucas Moraes 33 – 154
12 Denis Krotov 31 – 156
T-13 Fernando Alvarez Castellano 28 – 159
T-13 Jeremie Warnia 28 – 159
15 Guoyu Zhang 27 – 160
16 João Dias 26 – 161
17 Ronan Chabot 23 – 164
18 Vaidotas Žala 22 – 165
T-19 Armindo Araújo 20 – 167
T-19 Amerigo Ventura 20 – 167
T-21 Saleh Al-Saif 19 – 168
T-21 Włodzimierz Grajek 19 – 168
T-23 Pau Navarro 17 – 170
T-23 Adam Thomelius 17 – 170
T-25 Tiago Reis 16 – 171
T-25 Kees Koolen 16 – 171
27 Ricardo Ramilo 15 – 172
T-28 Nani Roma 14 – 173
T-28 Mattias Ekström 14 – 173
T-30 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari 13 – 174
T-30 Nasser Al-Kuwari 13 – 174
32 Miguel Barbosa 11 – 176
T-33 Egidijus Valeiša 9 – 178
T-33 Seth Quintero 9 – 178
T-35 Rokas Baciuška 8 – 179
T-35 Santiago Navarro 8 – 179
T-37 Francisco Barreto 7 – 180
T-37 Pedro Carvalho 7 – 180
T-37 Andrea Lafarja 7 – 180
T-37 Miroslav Zapletal 7 – 180
T-41 Stefano Marrini 6 – 181
T-41 Francisco Javier Rodriguez Hernandez 6 – 181
T-41 Gareth Woolridge 6 – 181
T-44 Michele Cinotto 5 – 182
T-44 Guillaume de Mévius 5 – 182
T-44 Alexandre Re 5 – 182
T-44 Magdalena Zajac 5 – 182
T-48 Tomas Mickus 4 – 183
T-48 Paulo Rodrigues 4 – 183
T-48 Aleksander Szustkowski 4 – 183
T-51 Lionel Baud 3 – 184
T-51 Nuno Madeira 3 – 184
T-51 Piotr Otko 3 – 184
T-51 Ronald Schoolderman 3 – 184
T-55 František Brutovský 2 – 185
T-55 Sebastián Halpern 2 – 185
T-55 Csaba Miklós 2 – 185
T-55 Romain Dumas 2 – 185

Co-drivers

Rank Co-Driver Points Margin
1 Mathieu Baumel 187 Leader
2 Timo Gottschalk 115 – 72
3 Filipe Palmeiro 104 – 83
4 Dani Oliveiras 98 – 89
5 João Filipe Ferreira Miranda 79 – 108
6 Łukasz Kurzeja 75 – 112
7 Oriol Vidal 59 – 128
8 Fuasto Mota 53 – 134
T-9 Kaique Bentivoglio 33 – 154
T-9 Julita Maluszinska 33 – 154
T-9 Paulo Fiuza 33 – 154
12 François Cazalet 32 – 155
13 Konstantin Zhiltsov 31 – 156
T-14 Xavier Panseri 28 – 159
T-14 Loïc Minaudier 28 – 159
16 Oriol Mena 27 – 160
T-17 Gilles Pillot 23 – 164
T-17 Taye Perry 23 – 164
T-19 Luis Ramalho 20 – 167
T-19 Mirko Brun 20 – 167
T-21 Nasser Al-Kuwari 19 – 168
T-21 Dominik Jazik 19 – 168
23 Oskar Andersson 17 – 170
T-24 Valter Cardoso 16 – 171
T-24 Wouter Rosegaar 16 – 171
26 Alex Haro Bravo 14 – 173
T-27 Alexei Kuzmich 13 – 174
T-27 Michael Metge 13 – 174
29 Laurent Lichtleuchter 11 – 176
T-30 Dmytro Tsyro 9 – 178
T-30 Mindaugas Varža 9 – 178
T-30 Dennis Zenz 9 – 178
T-33 Szymon Gospodarczyk 8 – 179
T-33 Robleto Nicoletti 8 – 179
T-33 Adrien Metge 8 – 179
T-36 Hector Garcia Chavez 7 – 180
T-36 Romeu Martins 7 – 180
T-36 Carlos Silva 7 – 180
T-36 Marek Sýkora 7 – 180
T-40 Boyd Dreyer 6 – 181
T-40 Yoni Luis Pérez Curbelo 6 – 181
T-40 Silvio Valentini 6 – 181
T-43 Jakub Brzezinski 5 – 182
T-43 Maurizio Dominella 5 – 182
T-43 João Pedro Re 5 – 182
T-46 Miguel Antonio 4 – 183
T-46 Gonçalo Reis 4 – 183
T-46 Darius Leskauskas 4 – 183
T-46 Andrei Rudnitski 4 – 183
T-46 Robin Szustkowski 3 – 184
T-51 Lucie Baud 3 – 184
T-51 José Janela 3 – 184
T-51 Karolina Otko 3 – 184
T-51 Pedro Re 3 – 184
T-51 Makeren Salomons 3 – 184
T-56 Bernardo Graue 2 – 185
T-56 Petr Hauptmann 2 – 185
T-56 Albert Horn 2 – 185
T-56 Marc Solà Terradellas 2 – 185
T-56 Max Delfino 2 – 185

Teams

Rank Team Points Margin
1 Overdrive Racing 237 Leader
2 South Racing Can-Am 177 – 60
3 X-raid Mini JCW Team 165 – 72
4 GRallyTeam 61 – 176
5 FN Speed Team 59 – 178
6 Sports Racing Technologies 49 – 188

T3

Rank Driver Points Margin
1 Otávio Sousa Leite 148 Leader
2 Mshari Al-Thefiri 129 – 19
3 Dania Akeel 104 – 44
4 Fernando Alvarez Castellano 89 – 59
5 João Dias 69 – 79
6 Kees Koolen 59 – 89
7 Armindo Araújo 51 – 97
8 Guillaume de Mévius 40 – 108
9 Saleh Al-Saif 38 – 110
T-10 Cristiano de Sousa Batista 33 – 115
T-10 Egidijus Valeiša 33 – 115
12 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari 32 – 116
13 Adam Thomelius 27 – 121
14 Nasser Al-Kuwari 25 – 123
T-15 João Monteiro 24 – 124
T-15 Mattias Ekström 24 – 124
T-17 Andrea Lafarja 19 – 129
T-17 Hector Diego Joaquin Martinez 19 – 129
T-19 Tomas Mickus 18 – 130
T-19 Santiago Navarro 18 – 130
21 Erik Van Loon 17 – 131
T-22 Pedro Carvalho 16 – 132
T-22 Paulo Rodrigues 16 – 132
T-24 Lionel Baud 14 – 134
T-24 Piotr Otko 14 – 134
26 Csaba Miklós 12 – 136
T-27 Rashia Jima Al-Muhannadi 11 – 137
T-27 Alexandre Re 11 – 137
T-29 Andrea Castagnera 9 – 139
T-29 Laia Sanz 9 – 139
31 Anja Van Loon 8 – 140
T-32 Ahmad Al-Muhannadi 7 – 141
T-32 Filipe Cameirinha 7 – 141
T-32 Miklos Trebitsch 7 – 141
T-35 Benjamin Favre 6 – 142
T-35 Edgar Reis 6 – 142
T-37 Jean-Luc Ceccaldi 5 – 143
T-37 Laurent Poletti 5 – 143
T-39 Nelson Beiro 4 – 144
T-39 Christophe Cresp 4 – 144
T-41 Jedidia Favre 3 – 145
T-41 Daniel Silva 3 – 145
T-41 Mitch Guthrie 3 – 145
T-44 Romain Locmane 2 – 146
T-44 Pedro Ruivo 2 – 146

T4

Drivers

Rank Driver Points Margin
1 Cristiano de Sousa Batista 192 Leader
2 Jérémie Warnia 132 – 60
3 Ricardo Ramilo 104 – 88
4 Pau Navarro 95 – 97
5 Amerigo Ventura 67 – 125
6 Stefano Marrini 58 – 134
7 João Ferreira 40 – 152
8 Francisco Javier Rodriguez Hernandez 39 – 153
9 Alexander Josef Toril Boquoi 35 – 157
10 Sean Haran 33 – 159
11 Luis Henderson 32 – 160
12 Michele Cinotto 24 – 168
13 Eduard Pons 23 – 169
T-14 Dario de Lorenzo 22 – 170
T-14 João Paula 22 – 170
16 Aleksander Szustkowski 19 – 173
17 Krzysztof Wicentowicz 17 – 175
18 Patrycja Brochocka 15 – 177
T-19 Federico Mogni 13 – 179
T-19 Pietro Cinotto 13 – 179
21 Carlos Vento Sanchez 12 – 180
22 Adrien Choblet 9 – 183
23 Rebecca Busi 8 – 184
24 Heathcliff Zingraf 3 – 189
25 Jean-Luc Ceccaldi 2 – 190

Teams

Rank Team Points Margin
1 South Racing Can-Am 195 Leader
2 FN Speed Team 97 – 98

Final FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas standings

Middle East Cup

Drivers

Rank Driver Points Margin
1 Khaled Ahmed Alferaihi 74 Leader
2 Hamad Nasser Alharbi 45 – 29
3 Salem Aldhafeeri 41 – 33
4 Yasir Seaidan 40 – 34
5 Ahmed Alkuwari 38 – 36
6 Aliyyah Koloc 35 – 39
7 Atif Alzarouni 34 – 40
8 Ibrahim Nasser Al-Muhna 33 – 41
9 Ahmed Abdullah Al-Shegawi 28 – 46
10 Maha Mohammed Hamali 27 – 47
11 Adel Abdulla 25 – 49
T-12 Abdullah Ahmed Alshegawi 23 – 51
T-12 Mohammed Almeer 23 – 51
14 Josef Macháček 20 – 54
15 Mario Franco 19 – 55
16 Nouef Hassan Al-Sowaidi 15 – 59
17 Abdulla Ali Al-Khelaifi 13 – 61
18 Saeed Almouri 11 – 63
19 Mohammed An Al-Atteya 5 – 69
20 Abdulla Al-Rabban 4 – 70

Co-drivers

Rank Co-Driver Points Margin
1 Sébastien Delaunay 74 Leader
2 Dmytro Tsyro 64 – 10
3 Marc Serra Jové 45 – 29
4 Alexey Kuzmich 40 – 34
5 Manuel Luchesse 38 – 36
6 Riaan Greyling 35 – 39
7 Patrick McMurren 34 – 40
8 Ali Hasan Obaid 26 – 48
9 Waleed Saleh Alshegawi 23 – 51
10 Osama Alsanad 22 – 52
11 David Schovánek 20 – 54
12 Rui Franco 19 – 55
T-13 Arif Bin Mohammed 15 – 59
T-13 Aisvydas Paliukėnas 15 – 59
15 Abdulaziz Al-Jabri 13 – 61
16 Marcin Pasek 13 – 61
17 Annie Seel 12 – 62
T-18 Tariq Saleh Al-Rammah 11 – 63
T-18 Ata Al-Hmoud 11 – 63
20 Omar Abdulleh Al-Lahim 8 – 66
21 Taye Perry 6 – 68
22 Ali Mirza 5 – 69
23 Tamer Alhijazeen 4 – 70

Teams

Rank Team Points Margin
1 Shegawi Racing 77 Leader
2 Buggyra ZM Racing 47 – 30
T-3 Saudi Border Guard 45 – 32
T-3 QMMF Racing Team 45 – 32
T-5 Race World Team 30 – 47
T-5 Quaddy Racing 30 – 47
7 Dark Horse 25 – 52
8 Sports Racing Technologies 20 – 57

T2

Rank Driver Points Margin
1 Ibrahim Nasser Al-Muhna 108 Leader
2 Ahmed Abdullah Al-Shegawi 73 – 35
3 Majed Abdulrahman Al-Thunayyan 26 – 82

T3

Rank Driver Points Margin
1 Hamad Nasser Alharbi 53 Leader
2 Yasir Seaidan 40 – 13
3 Abel Abdulla 39 – 14
4 Josef Macháček 35 – 18
5 Mohammed Almeer 32 – 21
6 Abdullah Ahmed Alshegawi 26 – 27
7 Mario Franco 25 – 28
8 Nouef Hassan Al-Sowaidi 21 – 32

T4

Drivers

Rank Driver Points Margin
1 Salem Aldhafeeri 102 Leader
2 Maha Mohammed Hamali 81 – 21
3 Ahmed Fahad Alkuwari 57 – 45
4 Atif Alzarouni 40 – 62
5 Saeed Almouri 28 – 74
6 Abdulla Ali Al-Khelaifi 23 – 79
7 Mohammed An Al-Atteya 22 – 80

Teams

Rank Team Points Margin
1 Quaddy Racing 50 Leader
2 Dark Horse 47 – 3
3 Sports Racing Technologies 25 – 25
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