Doha, Qatar – Stage 3 of the Sealine Cross-Country Rally, Round 3 of the FIA’s Cross-Country World Cup, saw defending champions Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Matthieu Baumel, record a third straight stage win, in their Toyota Hilux. The pair extended their lead over Yazeed Al Rajhi and navigator Timo Gottschalk (MINI) by 40 seconds, and are now 08:36 clear in the overall standings.
“It was another good day for us, even though we had to open the road,” said Al-Attiyah from the bivouac at the Losail International Race Circuit. “Matthieu did an excellent job, and the Toyota Hilux was as reliable as always.”
Al-Attiyah lead the charge over the 355 km that made up Stage 3 of this year’s event, and had a lead of more than three minutes at the 200 km mark. However, a slow puncture forced the Qatari superstar to slow down, costing him more than two minutes in the end.
“The tyre deflated to about 1.3 bar, but we decided to push on rather than change it,” explained Al-Attiyah. “We knew the rest of the field wasn’t far behind, and didn’t want to risk being passed by anyone, as that would have placed us right in their dust.”
Despite the setback, the Toyota Hilux crew brought their vehicle home in the fastest time of the day.
“It is fantastic to see our Toyota Hilux do so well in the hands of Nasser and Matthieu,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall, of today’s performance. “And the lads from Overdrive Racing, our international partners, are doing a great job of running the vehicle in Qatar.”
Stage 4 takes place on Thursday, April 21st, and is almost identical in length to Stage 3. The terrain will include long, rocky sections of gravel track, with a number of dune crossings also on the cards. The 2016 Sealine Cross-Country Rally concludes in Doha on Friday, by which time the crews will have covered 1,500 km of racing, over a five-day period.