Oman's Hamed Al-Wahaibi starts new season with victory in Muscat Rally
10.02.2012: • Young Omani Al-Kiyumi finishes stunning second overall
• WMS-run Mitsubishis take first and second places in Oman
• Young Omani Al-Kiyumi finishes stunning second overall
• WMS-run Mitsubishis take first and second places in Oman
OMAN NATIONAL RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP Muscat Rally, first round – February 9-10, 2012
Hamed Al-Wahaibi began his new rallying season in emphatic style by winning the Muscat Rally, round one of the Oman National Rally Championship, on Friday.
Partnered by new co-driver Zakarya Al-Aufi (the defending national co-driving champion), Al-Wahaibi guided his Wahaibi Motor Sports (WMS)-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X to a comfortable win by the margin of 5m 41s, but the Omani was also delighted with the performance of his young protégé Arif Al-Kiyumi.
Al-Wahaibi’s new 22-year-old team-mate finished a superb second overall in the second WMS-backed Mitsubishi, hence beginning his new association with Ulster co-driver Allan Harryman in brilliant style.
“I have been so impressed with the maturity and way that Arif has performed,” enthused Harryman. “He drove sensibly without taking risks. The aim was to finish the rally and he has fulfilled the objective perfectly.”
The event was fought out over 100 competitive kilometres and three special stages, repeated three times, in a total route of 316km.
The level of entries and quality of the cars continues to improve in the Oman National Rally Championship, but the demanding terrain took its toll on some of the entrants. Khalid Soomar, the defending national champion, was forced out with a suspension arm failure on the fourth stage and both Elias Zadjali and Saeed Al-Minji succumbed to respective tie rod and steering problems.
“Rallying in Oman is certainly on the rise and it is pleasing to see the standard of competition and the high quality of event organisation,” said a delighted Al-Wahaibi. “Stage security was first class, the stages were flowing and challenging and a team of Omani radio communications staff have come on board to boost the marshalling and expertise on the stages.
“It was obviously nice to win the rally, but the real goal for me is to nurture new talent in Oman and it was great to see Arif Al-Kiyumi perform so well in our new team. This was also the first rally in my career where I have been partnered by an Omani co-driver and Zakarya Al-Aufi did a superb job.”
Muscat Rally - Provisional final results (17.00hrs):
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