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.


Riyadh route revealed for inaugural Saudi Tour cycling event

Updated 24 January 2020

Riyadh route revealed for inaugural Saudi Tour cycling event

  • The race, will begin at the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee headquarters on Feb. 4 and end on Feb. 8 at Al-Masmak Fort

RIYADH: The Saudi Cycling Federation on Thursday revealed the full route for next month’s inaugural Saudi Tour event in Riyadh.

The 755 kilometer race, which is split into five daily stages, will begin at the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee headquarters on Feb. 4 and end on Feb. 8 at Al-Masmak Fort. Along the way, the competitors will pass many Riyadh landmarks, including Sadus Castle, Wadi Namar Park and Al-Bujairi historical district.

Eighteen teams from 13 countries will compete, and the riders include Mark Cavendish from the UK, Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni and Dutch cyclist Niki Terpstra.

Subah Al-Kraidees, chairman of the Saudi Cycling Federation, said he is delighted that the Kingdom is hosting a major Union Cycliste Internationale cycling event for the first time.

“I am so proud that the Saudi Cycling Federation is able to see one of its dreams realized with this event, and to have Saudi Arabia recognized as an important station in the international biking scene,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for Saudi athletes to rub shoulders with international bikers, and to see what they have achieved and learn from their experiences.”

The Saudi Tour will be broadcast worldwide by 25 TV networks, six of whom will also live stream the event.

Three other events will take place on the sidelines of the main race: a public bike ride from noon to 12:45 p.m. on Feb. 6, a junior race on the same day from 1 p.m. to 2.40 p.m., and a women’s ride from 12.30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. on Feb. 8.

You can find more details of the event and broadcast schedules, and track the teams and their race times, at www.thesauditour.com.