Al-Rajhi holds off Peterhansel to extend lead in Riyadh Rally

Riyadh Rally is being organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 29 November 2019

Al-Rajhi holds off Peterhansel to extend lead in Riyadh Rally

  • The Rumah stage victory extends the Saudi driver’s overall advantage to 54 seconds
  • On Saturday, competitors will tackle a shorter section of 160 km through the scenic Saad National Park before a ceremonial finish at Diriyah

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi beat French legend Stéphane Peterhansel by 46 seconds in the challenging second 307 km section through the deserts around Rumah on Friday morning.

The Rumah stage victory extends his overall advantage in the Riyadh Rally to 54 seconds.

Aiming to win the inaugural Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship and continue valuable pre-Dakar Rally testing, Al-Rajhi and Northern Irish co-driver Michael Orr clocked a time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, and 40 seconds in a Toyota Hilux.

Like Peterhansel, series rival Yasir Seaidan drove an X-raid prepared MINI JCW Buggy and finished the stage in third, 2 minutes, 41 seconds adrift of the outright leader. Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal slipped to fifth place behind ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari and a plethora of Saudi drivers filled the remaining places inside the top 10. Mutair Al-Shammeri was the best of the bunch in sixth, followed by Faris Al-Moshna Al-Shammeri, Sami and Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri and Khalid Al-Remali.

Salman Al-Shammeri moved to the top of the T2 standings for series-production cross-country vehicles with the fastest time, putting the Nissan driver 4 minutes and 41 seconds ahead of Farhan Al-Muharib. Yousef Al-Suwaidi held third overall and Talal Al-Bader moved his Ford up into fourth.

SPEEDREAD

  • Like Peterhansel, series rival Yasir Seaidan drove an X-raid prepared MINI JCW Buggy and finished the stage in 3rd, 2 minutes and 41 seconds adrift of the outright leader.
  • Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal slipped to 5th place behind ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari and a plethora of Saudi drivers filled the remaining places inside the top 10.
  • Mutair Al-Shammeri was the best of the bunch in 6th, followed by Faris Al-Moshna Al-Shammeri, Sami and Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri and Khalid Al-Remali.

Saleh Al-Saif extended his advantage in the NUTV section to 1 minute 49 seconds at the wheel of a Can-Am Maverick X3. Yousef Al-Dhaif maintained second position and Khalil Al-Tuwaijri was third. 

Saudi Arabia’s leading rider Mishal Alghuneim hit the front in the motorcycle category with the fastest time of 3 hours 53 seconds. That enabled the KTM rider to forge a 1 minute 20 seconds advantage over Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi. His brother Sultan came home in third place after incurring a one-minute penalty and Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Shatti rounded off the top four.

As both Abdullah Al-Malki and Abdullah Al-Shegawi retired from the quad category, pre-race favorite Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi incurred 57 minutes of time penalties and plummeted down the running order before retiring from the day with another fistful of penalties.

Sultan Al-Masoud clocked the unofficial fastest time before any potential penalties were imposed and returned to Riyadh on his Yamaha ahead of Fahad Al-Madah and Sufyan Al-Omar.

The event is being organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and supervision of former International Automobile Federation Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab.

The rally runs with the support of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, the General Sport Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group, Al-Arabia outdoors and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.

On Saturday, competitors will tackle a shorter section of 160 km through the scenic Saad National Park before a ceremonial finish at Diriyah, near Riyadh.


Boris Johnson urges ‘clarity’ on Saudi bid for Newcastle FC

Updated 24 min 16 sec ago

Boris Johnson urges ‘clarity’ on Saudi bid for Newcastle FC

  • The consortium, led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, pulled out last month

DUBAI: Pressure is growing on English football authorities to explain why they have not approved a £300 million ($390 million) takeover of Newcastle United football club by a Saudi-led consortium.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would like to see a statement from the Premier League on its failure to reach a decision on the deal, agreed upon in April.

“There must be clarity on why there was a significant delay in a decision being made, and on the reasons why the consortium de- cided to withdraw their bid,” John- son wrote in response to fans.

“I appreciate that many Newcastle fans were hoping this takeover would go ahead and can understand their sense of disappointment.”

The consortium, led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, pulled out last month because of what it called an “unforeseeablylong process” in obtaining approval.

But that has not dimmed enthusiasm in the northeast of England for the deal, which came with the prospect of hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in the club and the community. An online petition organized by Newcastlefans has attracted nearly 100,000 signatures, and 15 MPs have written to the Premier League chief executive Richard Masters express- ing their dismay.

Despite the formal withdrawal of the bid, the consortium members are keen to table the offer again if the logjam can be cleared.

The multibillionaire Reuben brothers, who already have sports business interests in the English northeast and who would own 10 per cent of Newcastle as part of the consortium, said last week they were “totally committed” to the deal and asked the Premier League to think again.

Amanda Staveley, the British financier who brokered the deal and

who would also take 10 per cent, said she was “humbled” by the fans’ continuing support for the takeover.

“Speaking on behalf of myself and my family, the Reuben family and the PIF, we are not just overwhelmed by the support, we are humbled by it.”

 

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