Second victory for Al-Attiyah in Szczecin

Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Hilux Overdrive), the man who has reached two victories in Dakar Rally, took the first place in ORLEN Baja Poland for the second time in a row. The driver from Qatar, due to this success, is near to the triumph in the overall classification of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. After the success in Szczecin, he has to gain only 9 more points in the next rallies to seal the trophy.

Jakub Przygoński (Mini John Cooper Works Rally), the runner-up of the series, stood on the second place of the podium. He managed to win the last but one stage of the rally as well. Owing to this result, ORLEN Team's driver has strengthened his second place in The FIA World Cup for Cross-country Rallies. Przygoński tried to attack Al-Attiyah on the first Sunday stage but the puncture that he had on the next stage brought the loss of more than a minute and a half to the leader. 

The podium is filled by Bernhard Ten Brinke who is co-driven by a competitor well-known from the FIA World Rally Championship, Stephane Prevot (Toyota Hilux Overdrive). Vladimir Vasilev (Mini John Cooper Works Rally), 2014 World Cup winner, took the fourth place, close behind the Dutch-Belgian duo.

Aron Domżała finished ORLEN Baja Poland on the fifth place (Toyota Hilux Overdrive). The driver (partnered by Szymon Gospodarczyk) and Krzysztof Hołowczyc scored the same time at the last stage. That is really unusual in cross country rallies.

Miroslav Zapletal, co-driven by Bartosz Momot (Ford F150 Evo), reached the finish behind Domżała and Gospodarczyk. Nicholas Fuchs (HRX Ford), known from the starts in WRC 2, nailed the seventh place. He won both runs of the stage Lubieszyn.

Peter Van Mekrsteijn, the Dutch driver (Toyota Hilux Overdrive), occupied eight place. Adel Hussein Abdull (Nissan Patrol Y62) and Adam Piec (Toyota Land Cruiser) took the ninth and tenth place respectively. These drivers also were on the first two places in T2 class.

ORLEN Baja Poland was the fifth round of Polish Cross-country Championship as well. In this series, Jakub Przygoński was the winner of the event. The podium was filled by Bernard Ten Brinke and Vladimir Vasilev. ORLEN Team's driver won also the FIA Central European Zone Championship for Cross Country Rallies. Aron Domżała took the second place and Miroslav Zapletal was placed on the third step of the podium. 

Motorcyclists' competition was dominated by ORLEN Team's riders. They covered the whole podium. Adam Tomiczek was the winner. He won only by 7 seconds on Maciek Giemza. Kuba Piątek stepped the last place of the podium.

FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies (classification afeter 9 rounds)

1.         Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)                240
2.         Jakub Przygoński (POL)               159
3.         Khalid Al-Qassimi (ZEA)               105
4.         Aron Domżała (POL)                      96
5.         Yasir Seaidan (SAU)                      96
6.         Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT)         84
7.         Martin Prokop (CZE)                      72
8.        Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)                 55
9.        Leeroy Poulter (ZAF)                      42
10.      Adel Hussein Abdulla (QAT)        41

Comments after ORLEN Baja Poland

Nasser Al-Attiyah: It was a very good rally for us. We did not make mistakes and did not have any punctures. I must thank Overdrive team, Toyota and Mathieu and Nasser as well! It has been a positive weekend for us. I do not mind that we have not achieved the championship yet – Kuba is a friend of mine and we try to make our sport as attractive as it is possible. Yesterday’s stages were tougher than Dakar for me. It is something fabulous.

Kuba Przygoński: We are so, so happy. It was a really good competition and, as always, I enjoyed driving with Tom. We had an eventful rivalry with Nasser and presented great pace. Unfortunately, two punctures did not allow us to fight for the win. I think, however, that the driver from the Qatar could feel that we were behind him till the end. Yesterday stages were so difficult – you have to be extremely focused on over 200 kilometres length sprint stages in the baja rallies.

Bernhard Ten Brinke: I had not seat behind the rally car's wheel for almost one year and a half so we are happy with this result. It is an awesome feeling to drive the Toyota again. Each day was a huge lesson for us and we were raising our pace through the rally. However, today we did not have to push because reaching the finish with this result was the most important task.

Aron Domżała: We are finishing the rally on the fifth place overall. Unfortunately, we lost our chance to reach the podium yesterday, when we had to change a wheel. Despite that, we demonstrated a proper pace. Second place and being only behind Nasser on the longest stage is quite an achievement. During the second leg today, the ruts were much deeper and I felt that our pace was lower. Lots of spectators arrived on the stages today and we got a massive pleasure out of driving again.

Miroslav Zapletal: It was tricky! It was slippery, we had worn tyres and all we wanted today was to keep our place in the overall classification and not to make any mistake. We did not push because every mistake could have been valuable and we did not have a chance to gain any places.

Nicholas Fuchs: These ruts! We were on two wheels almost through the whole stage, on every corner! Great fun.

Bernhard van Merkseijn: The second stage at the military range was very difficult yesterday. There was plenty of water and it did not make our rally easier and set the whole rally for us. However, we are happy with the outcome.

Marcin Łukaszewski: We had a puncture on the last but one stage... It was the eighth or seventh flat tyre in this rally. I guess that there is some problem with the rims. I enjoyed the last stage because the road was not that wet after yesterday's cloudburst.

Maciej Giemza: - I am really happy, I’ve made it to the finish line in one piece and manager to avoid any injuries. The next step before Rally Dakar has been made. It was quite fast, the three of us from ORLEN Team fought really hard within the seconds. It was also a good practice considering the future – in Poland we don’t have many opportunities to ride in such conditions.

Krzysztof Hołowczyc: - On the penultimate stage right before the start it started raining. I think I hit the post and damaged a lamp. On the final stage I set the same time as Aron Domżała, which is quite unique in cross country rallies. Aron did a great job.


Photo: MCH




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