Kuwait National Rally Championship round three winners pose with their winners pose with their trophies at the podium.
Al-Saleh wins round 3 of Kuwait Rally Champ Al-Nejadi retains overall lead with 45 points

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 29: Kuwait’s Masoud Al-Saleh and fellow compatriot co-driver Hamad Al-Saleh driving a Ford Fiesta S2000 cruised into a 1hr and 20s  lead after six grueling stages of the 2012/2013 Kuwait National Rally championship round three on Saturday on the desert sands of Julai’a in the south of Kuwait.

He was followed in second place by Mufeed Mubarak who finished in 1hr: 01m: 52.5sec. Mishal Al-Nejadi in his Mini-Cooper JCW-S2000 came in third in 1hr: 03m: 58.9sec to fill the final podium position after dropping off his lead in the first three rounds. Al-Saleh won every stage of the race except the first three in a Kuwaiti desert that had been subjected to heavy rainfall in recent days.

The Qatari team comprising Mohammed Al-Hargan and Kamel Khoder came in a comfortable fourth overall in their Nissan Safari. Fahad Ashkanani and Hussain Ghadhanfar finished fifth with Salem Al-Thafeeri and co-driver Fahad Al-Shehan in sixth position.

“I could only manage to push a little harder after the third stage and was able to build up an advantage and then carried the pace and momentum through over the remaining stages,” said Al-Saleh. He added that with the round-3 win he’d focus seriously on winning the final three rounds to clinch the ultimate trophy.

Organized by the Kuwait Quarter Mile Automobile & Motorcycle Club (KQMMC), the round-3 of the 6-stage premier national rally attracted a total 15 teams including defending Kuwait national champion, Mishal Al-Nejadi who topped the entry list alongside his co-driver Ali Al-Shammali. Despite Al-Nejadi’s drop into third position in the third round, he still leads the pack with a total of 45 points, having racked in 15 points in the last race.

The 33-year old Al-Nejadi who drives a Mini-Cooper JCW-S2000 finished first in the opening round of the rally but only managed a distant second in round two behind Saudi King of Drift Saeed AlMouri.

Representing the host nation among the 15 teams  were Mishal AlNejadi with Ali AlShammali, Salah Bin Eidan with Qatari co-driver Nasser AlKuwari, Masoud AlSaleh with Hamad AlSaleh, Mishari AlThafeeri with  Saffah AlThafeeri, Mufeed Mubarak with Saad AlMulaifi, Eid AlFazran with Faisal AlFazran, Abdullah AlHajeri with Sulayman AlHellal, Fahad Ashkenani with Hussain Ghadanfar, Salman Aman with Nasser AlMutairi, Salem AlThafeeri with Fahad AlShehan, Nasser AlAjmi with AbdulHadi AlAjmi, Mubarak AlThafeeri with Fahad AlMutairi and Salah Ghadanfar with Nawaf AlEnizi.

The rest were Ibrahim AlMuhana with Tariq AlRammah from Saudi Arabia and Mohammed AlHargan with Kamal Khoder from Qatar. Race vehicles used in the rally included Mini-Cooper, Mitsubishi Evo, Ford Fiesta, Nissan Safari, Jeep Cherokee, Land Rover, Mitsubishi Pajero and Nissan Patrol.

Of the nineteen cars that entered the 270km rally, two dropped out citing mechanical failures while the other thirteen were able to make it to the finish line. The rally was done in Bneider and Al-Zour.

Sheikh Athbi Al-Naif Al-Sabah, chairman of the rally organizing committee and director of the Kuwait Quarter-Mile Automobile and Motor Cycle Club, organizers of the event, presented the rally winners awards and trophies at the ceremony that had members of the Kuwait International Automobile Club-KT and other Quarter Mile club executives as well as automotive rally enthusiasts and members of the media present to mark the end of round three with three more to go.

The race kicked off at 9.00 am on Saturday in the Julai’a Area opposite the Seashell Resort in south Kuwait where service and VIP Centers were set up within the space provided to take care of mechanical and other issues arising. The event was staged under the patronage of Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Al-Duaij Al Sabah, the Governor of Al-Ahmadi.

Sheikh Athbi Al-Naif thanked Ali AlGhanim & Sons Company, Gulf Telecom, Car Wash and other entities who in diverse ways contributed to the resounding success of the rally. Round-4 of the rally kicks off Jan 11-12, 2013.

By: Iddris Seidu Arab Times Staff

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