Overdrive Racing's Al-Rajhi pulls clear of title rival with start-to-finish victory in Saudi Baja 2022 Hail

Overdrive Racing's Al-Rajhi pulls clear of title rival with start-to-finish victory in Saudi Baja 2022 Hail

12.11.2022: Saudi Baja 2022 – Hail FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round 7 of 8 November 10-12, 2022 Saturday, November 12th 2022 Overdrive Racing’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi pulled clear of rival Miroslav Zapletal in both the FIA World Cup for Cross-Cou

   
Saudi Baja 2022 – Hail
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round 7 of 8
November 10-12, 2022
Saturday, November 12th 2022





 Overdrive Racing’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi pulled clear of rival Miroslav Zapletal in both the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and the Saudi Toyota Rally Championship by taking a start-to-finish victory at the Saudi Baja 2022-Hail on Saturday afternoon.  

 

 

The Saudi was fastest on the Qualifying Stage and both desert selective sections in his Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux with German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz sitting alongside. He reached the finish with a comfortable winning margin of 24min 28sec.
 



Co-driver Von Zitzewitz said
: “As we expected it was not so easy. We were not sure how the desert would react with all this rain we have had. We took it quite easy in the first part. We did not want to risk anything stupid because we were lying in a good position.

 

But, in the second part, we speeded up a little bit. There was some navigation involved and some soft dunes and nice climbs through a pass. It was quite challenging and many guys got trouble. Everything went well and Yazeed did a great drive. The Hilux worked well. It was a beautiful stage, a little bit short maybe, but it was a Baja and we are very happy that we could win this race.”
 


The opening Qualifying Stage close to the official start at the Al-Maghawah National Park was reduced from 18km to just 3.91km in length on Thursday afternoon. Al-Rajhi beat his closest rival Cristiano de Sousa Batista by 8.8 seconds to snatch the outright lead. Rival Zapletal was third.
 


Friday’s first selective section towards Jubbah was slightly revised to 229.52km and ran to the west and northwest of Hail. It was split into two sections of 101.52km and 128.00km by a neutralisation link.
 


Al-Rajhi carded a time of 2hr 36min 19sec to move 9min 48sec ahead of Zapletal in the duel for the Drivers’ title.
 


The Saudi said: “It was a nice stage and I enjoyed it a lot. There were a lot of technical places. We did a good time and Dirk did a great job. The weather was different and not too hot today. No rain but the ground is hard after the rain yesterday.”
 


The second Farhaniyah stage ran for 183.42km to the west of Hail and was split into two parts by a neutralisation section. Again, the weather was not what competitors would normally expect in Hail at this time of year but it failed to prevent Al-Rajhi from winning the stage by 11min 38sec from De Sousa Batista.
 


Zapletal came home in fifth, as Al-Rajhi secured his sixth win in Hail, his first since 2016 and his first with Overdrive Racing and the Toyota Hilux.
 


Competitors now head to the United Arab Emirates for the Dubai International Baja, the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas at the start of December. The Saudi Toyota Rally Championship concludes in Jeddah on December 15-17.
 




Saudi Baja 2022 Hail car result




1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive  4hr 18min 55sec


2. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SVK) Ford F150 Evo                                                4hr 43min 23sec


3. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)              4hr 47min 55sec

4. Cristiano Batista (BRA)/Fausto Mota (PRT) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR (T4)          4hr 56min 27sec

5. Eduard Pons (ESP)/Mónica Plaza Vasquez (ESP) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4)   4hr 59min 09sec

6. Aliyyah Koloc (ARE)/Stéphane Duplé (FRA) Buggyra Can-Am DV21 (T3)                 4hr 59min 17sec

7. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Sergio Lafuente (URY) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)                          5hr 03min 42sec

8. Egidijus Valeiša (LTU)/ Mindaugas Varža (LTU) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo (T4)   5hr 04min 00sec

9. Hamed Al-Harbi (SAU)/Dmytro Tsyro (UKR) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)                          5hr 10min 07sec

10. Mashael Al-Obaidan (SAU)/Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)                    5hr 19min 32sec


*T1 unless stated
 



- Neil Perkins, photos SAMF
               


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12.11.2022 / MaP

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