Saudi Arabia’s Essa Al-Dossari and Emirati navigator Ali Hassan Obaid lost some time on the final 168.57 selective section of the 13th Ha’il Nissan International Cross-Country Rally, but that failed to prevent them guiding the ED Racing Nissan Navara to outright victory by the margin of 8min 42sec.
Samai Talab Al-Shammeri and navigator Abdullah Mutar Al-Shammeri reduced Al-Dossari’s overnight lead by nearly seven minutes in a brave battle for supremacy across the tricky sandy trails and dunes of the An Nafud desert, but the Saudi duo had to settle for second position in their Nissan Patrol.
Al-Dossari said: “I am extremely happy. This is exactly the result and start I was looking for and I hope it will be the start of something big in the future. I would like to thank my team, ED Racing, and my co-driver and everyone who was part of this big achievement today.”
Ahmed Abdullah Al-Shuhail and Rasheed Al-Shammeri gave Nissan a 1-2-3 with the final place on the podium after setting the second quickest time in the final stage. The day’s stage win fell to the Toyota Land Cruiser of Saudi Salman Saad Al-Mshaan and Kuwaiti co-driver Nawaf Al-Onizi.
Muteb Saud Al-Qnoon finished fourth overall and the experienced Ahmed Al-Shegawi and his Russian navigator Alexei Kuzmich snatched the T2 win from under the nose of overnight leader Muneef Al-Salmani, who was driving a Nissan Saudi Arabia-backed Patrol – the King of All Terrains.
Talal Al-Thukair successfully defended his lead in the ATV category on a Can-Am from outright super special stage winner Saleh Abdullah Al-Saif. Al-Saif won the last stage, but Al-Thukair held on to take the category win by 4min 44sec.
The Ha’il Nissan International Cross-Country Rally was staged under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz bin Sa’ad bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of Ha’il, President of the Supreme Commission for Ha’il Development and the Head of the Supreme Commission of the Ha’il Rally.