HAIL, Saudi Arabia, January 18 – Saudi Arabia’s Essa Al Dossary and Emirati navigator Ali Hassan Obaid on Thursday were victorious in the 13th Hail Nissan International Rally, which took place in north-western Saudi Arabia January 13-17.
Al Dossary and Obaid lost some time on the final leg of the rally, but that failed to prevent them from guiding the ED Racing Nissan Navara to outright victory by a margin of 8min 42sec, the Supreme Commission of the Hail Rally announced.
Samai Talab Al Shammari and navigator Abdullah Muter Al Shammari cut into Al Dossary’s overnight lead by nearly seven minutes in a brave battle for supremacy across the tricky sandy trails and dunes of the An Nafud desert, but the Saudi duo had to settle for second position in their Nissan Patrol.
Al Dossary said: “I am extremely happy. This is exactly the result and start I was looking for, and I hope it will be the start of something big in the future. I would like to thank my team, ED Racing, and my co-driver and everyone who was part of this big achievement today.”
The first phase of the rally was flagged off at Mashar valley in the north-western Saudi city of Hail on Monday, with a total of 46 teams competing. The four-day rally, which covers 1,300 kilometres in four special stages , is organised by the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) and overseen by the International Automobile Federation.
First held in 2006, the rally is one of the most important dates on the calendar of international sporting events held in Saudi Arabia and attracts thousands of local and international spectators.
The contestants included 81 Saudi drivers and navigators, five Emirati co-drivers, a Russian, an Omani and an Egyptian navigator, and three Kuwaiti drivers and co-drivers.
Nissans dominated the entry list with 25 contestants driving the Japanese vehicles.
Ahmed Abdullah Al Shuhail and Rasheed Al Shammari gave Nissan a 1-2-3 finish after registering the second quickest time in the final stage. The day’s stage win went to the Toyota Land Cruiser of Saudi Salman Saad Al Mshaan and Kuwaiti co-driver Nawaf Al Onizi.
Muteb Saud Al Qnoon finished fourth overall and the experienced Ahmad Al Shegawi and his Russian navigator Alexey Kuzmich snatched the T2 win from under the nose of overnight leader Muneef Al Salmani, who was driving a Saudi Arabia-backed Nissan Patrol, known as the “King of All Terrains”.
Talal Al Thukair successfully defended his lead in the ATV category on a Can-Am from outright super special stage winner Saleh Abdullah Al Saif. Al Saif won the last stage, but Al Thukair held on to win the category by 4min 44sec.
The rally was staged under the patronage of Prince Abdulaziz bin Sa’ad bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Hail, President of the Supreme Commission for Hail Development and the Head of the Supreme Commission of the Hail Rally.
13th Hail Nissan International Cross-Country Rally – positions after SS4 (Official Final Classification):
- Essa Al Dossary (KSA)/Ali Hassan Obaid (UAE) Nissan Navara 9hrs 27min 02sec
- Samai Talab Al Shammari (KSA)/Abdullah Muter Al Shammari (KSA) Nissan 9hrs 35min 44sec
- Ahmed Al Shuhail (KSA)/Rasheed Al Shammari (KSA) Nissan Patrol 9hrs 39min 33sec
- Muteb Saud Al Qnoon (KSA)/Abdullah Al Qnoon (KSA) Nissan 10hrs 09min 46sec
- Ahmad Al Shegawi (KSA)/Alexey Kuzmich (RUSSIA) Nissan Patrol 10hrs 11min 27sec
- Muneef Al Salmani (KSA)/Ali Al Saiyari (KSA) Nissan 10hrs 13min 33sec
- Yousef Al Swiedi (KSA)/Ziad Al Harbi (KSA) Nissan Patrol 10hrs 17min 55sec
- Khalid Al Shammari (KSA)/Hani Munif Al Shammari (KSA) Nissan 10hrs 19min 16sec
- Khalid Nafeaa Al Hamazani (KSA)/Fahad Al Omar (KSA) Nissan 10hrs 43min 33sec
- Faris Khalaf Al Mashna (KSA)/Saud Nasser Al Tamimi (KSA) Nissan 10hrs 48min 32sec
- Al Mashna Al Shammari (KSA)/Murdi Mutair Al Shammari Nissan 10hrs 50min 51sec
- Khalaf Saleh Al Jouan (KSA)/Jouan Saleh Al Jouan (KSA) Toyota 11hrs 01min 53sec
- Saeed Al Mouri (KSA)/Hakam Rabie (Egypt) Nissan 11hrs 06min 40sec
- Ahmed Mudhi Al Shammari/Mohammed Eid Al Shammari Nissan 11hrs 09min 06sec
- Ibrahim Nasser Al Muhanna (KSA)/Osama Al Sanad (KSA) Nissan 11hrs 58min 04sec