Dubai rally podium place gives Saudi Arabian driver hope for Abu Dhabi race

Yasir Seaidan in action in the Dubai International Baja where the Saudi driver finished third. (Neil Perkins/Overdriv
Updated 11 March 2018

Dubai rally podium place gives Saudi Arabian driver hope for Abu Dhabi race

DUBAI: Stepping down off the podium at the Dubai International Baja this weekend, Saudi Arabia’s Yasir Seaidan immediately turned his attention to the next round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies in neighboring emirate, Abu Dhabi, later this month.
Seaidan’s third-place finish at the three-day, 173.69km race marked his best-ever finish and ensured the Overdrive Racing driver climbed to fourth in the overall World Cup standings after two rounds. The 40-year-old finished just five minutes 40 seconds behind Jakub Przygonski despite it being only his second time racing his V8-powered Toyota Hilux. Russia’s Vladimir Vasilyev finished second.
“It was a really good race for me,” Riyadh-born Seaidan told Arab News. “The first day was difficult as it was only my second time racing for Overdrive and the first time for me driving the Hilux in the dunes. I got stuck a couple of times in the sand, which lost me some time.
“(Yesterday) though was much better as I started understanding more about the car. I had to con­stantly battle Vasilyev to make up time against him, but I’m extremely happy to come out on top, cross the line before him and complete a good result for me and the team.”
Seaidan had said ahead of the race that he intended to break a cycle of fifth-place finishes and was aiming for a podium. Despite coping well with the suffocating heat and rigors of the opening super special stage on Thursday, his luck turned on the second day when when he lost more than four minutes rooted in the Al-Qudra desert. With sand dunes being the Saudi’s self-professed speciality, it looked like fifth might be a good result, yet he and co-driver Alexei Kuzmich turned it around on the final day.
Jean-Marc Fortin, the CEO of his Belgian marque, was left mightily impressed — as well as wondering what might have been.
“This is a fantastic first podium for Yasir,” said Overdrive Racing’s Fortin. “With the stage time that he showed, it is really amazing how he has driven in the dunes. This is only the second time that he has been racing in T1 with this car, so making his first podium in only his second race is very impressive. It’s a real shame he got stuck because, when we looked at the data, had he not, he would have been challenging for the lead.”
The FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies remains in the UAE, but will move down Sheikh Zayed Road toward Abu Dhabi for the first of the longer events, the unforgiving Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which runs from March 24-29. Seaidan is aware expectations will be higher now, but said he will travel to the event in positive spirits.
“Yes, I can go there with confidence,” he said. “It will be difficult as many professional drivers are making the journey to Abu Dhabi, but we will see.”
In the T2 production cars class, it was more positive news for Saudi Arabian motorsport as Ahmed Al-Sheghawi, accompanied by French co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter in a Toyota Landcruiser, claimed the win.


Lewandowski scores 30th goal of season as Bayern close on title

Updated 07 June 2020

Lewandowski scores 30th goal of season as Bayern close on title

  • Bayern struck twice in quick succession just before half-time to turn the game in their favor

BERLIN: Robert Lewandowski scored his 30th league goal of the season on Saturday as Bayern Munich came from behind to claim a 4-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen and move a step closer to the Bundesliga title.

After Lucas Alario secured an early lead for the home side, Bayern struck twice in quick succession just before half-time to turn the game in their favor after Kingsley Coman’s equalizer.

Lewandowski netted in the second half as Bayern established a 10-point lead over title rivals Borussia Dortmund, who host Hertha Berlin later on Saturday.

The game also saw Bayern lend their support to protests over the death of black American man George Floyd, with all their players wearing armbands bearing the slogan “Black Lives Matter.”

With their talisman and Bayern transfer target Kai Havertz ruled out with a muscle injury, Leverkusen turned to Alario to lead the line against the champions.

The Argentine delivered after just 9 minutes, beating the offside trap after a throw-in to slot the ball past Manuel Neuer.

A mistake from Moussa Diaby allowed Coman to curl in the equalizer, before a fizzing shot from Leon Goretzka and an elegant lob from Serge Gnabry saw Bayern take a 2-goal lead before half-time.

Lewandowski finished the job with a well-placed header after the break, reaching the 30-goal mark for only the second time in his Bundesliga career, but there was still time for 17-year-old Florian Wirtz to curl in a consolation goal for Leverkusen before the final whistle.

Elsewhere, a late equalizer from Christian Strohdiek gave bottom-of-the-table Paderborn a faint glimmer of hope in the race for survival, as they snatched a 1-1 draw away to RB Leipzig.

Chelsea-bound Leipzig striker Timo Werner set up Patrik Schick on 27 minutes to give Leipzig the lead, but they were forced to defend it with 10 men after Dayot Upamecano was booked twice in the first half.

Strohdiek’s last-minute strike gave Paderborn their fourth draw in five games, though Steffen Baumgart’s side remain 8 points off Fortuna Duesseldorf who occupy the relegation playoff place.

Duesseldorf themselves missed the chance to move toward safety, as they battled to a dramatic 2-2 draw against 10-man Hoffenheim.

A headed opener from Rouwen Hennings and a red card for Hoffenheim’s Benjamin Huebner put the home side in pole position, but the visitors struck back with goals from Munas Dabbur and Steven Zuber before Hennings saved a point with a late penalty.

Uwe Roesler’s side remain 3 points adrift of survival, after goals from Moussa Niakhate and Pierre Kunde Malong gave fellow strugglers Mainz a rare 2-0 win over local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.