Szczecin (Poland): Qatar’s Adel Abdulla clinched a second successive T2 category victory on a European Baja round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies by winning the Columna Medica Baja Poland on Sunday afternoon.
The Nissan Patrol Y62 driver snatched the lead from arch-rival Ahmed Al-Shegawi on the first of the longer stages on Saturday morning and gradually pulled away from his rival to secure victory in the T2 category for drivers of series production cross-country vehicles by a margin of 12min 06sec. The Qatari, who has won the T2 section in Hungary last month, was also rewarded with an excellent eighth overall in the general classification.
Victory for the QX Rally Team driver and his French navigator Jean-Michel Polato enabled the team to reduce the gap to T2 series leader Ahmed Al-Shegawi from 23 points to 16 points with two rounds remaining in Morocco and Portugal.
Adel said: “We managed to win the race. I had a problem after the second of the long stages on Saturday. One of the rear dampers was leaking, so it was difficult on the small bumpy stages today. It was good that we had the gap yesterday, so that I could try and manage the pace and conserve the car.
“I thank my team, co-driver and my sponsors Nissan Qatar, Ooredoo Qatar and the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation for their support and all the people who support me in this race.”
Adel Abdulla took a lead of 5min 29sec into the second run through the 222.60km selective section at the military training ground in Drawsko Pomorskie on Saturday afternoon.
Another fastest time enabled the Qatari to extend his lead by 8min 07sec to 13min 36sec at the overnight halt in Szczecin. Poland’s Piotr Sawicki was a further 11min 18sec behind the QMMF-backed driver.
Action concluded with a pair of runs through two shorter Krekowo and Lubieszyn off-road stages in the nearby Dobra municipality before the ceremonial finish in Szczecin on Sunday.
Adel Abdulla extended his advantage by 1min 05sec in the 18.39km of Krekowo and safely negotiated the 10.50km of the second test in 11min 13sec to retain a comfortable T2 advantage of 14min 30sec to take into the repeat runs through the two short stages. Pole Tomasz Baranowski retired on the second stage of the loop.
Adel Abdulla did not intend to take any risks and the Qatari was happy to concede 1min 07sec to his rival on the re-run of Krekowo and headed into the final 10.50km with a comfortable advantage. He guided the car to the finish cautiously to record a vital win.
Adel’s challenge for T2 honours this season is being supported by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), Ooredoo Qatar and Nissan Qatar.
Action resumes in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies with the Rally of Morocco at the start of October.