The 7-km long prologue at the gates of the city of Al Dhannah which took place today allowed the ten quickest drivers and riders the opportunity to choose their starting order for stage 1 tomorrow. In the car category, Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) achieved the best time ahead of Guerlain Chicherit (GCK Motosports) and Sébastien Loeb (Bahrain Raid Xtreme). In the bike race, Monster Energy Honda riders Pablo Quintanilla and Adrien Van Beveren prevailed ahead of Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing).
FIA: AL ATTIYAH TAKES THE UPPER HAND
Three times ADDC winner Nasser Al Attiyah set the tone by triumphing with a time of 4’45’’ on the prologue. Guerlain Chicherit posted the 2nd best time, 4’’ ahead of the other Prodrive Hunter driven by Sébastien Loeb, who was in turn 10’’ behind the Qatari’s time. Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Racing), thanks to a finish one second behind the Frenchman, is also in the reckoning. In the T3 category, team-mates Seth Quintero and Mitch Guthrie Jr (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA) completed the prologue in that order and within the same second, in front of Cristina Guttiérez (Red Bull Can-Am Factory), herself just 1 second behind the two men! Matthias Ekström (South Racing Can-Am) and Austin Jones (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA), the winner on the Dakar, did not get off to the best start, finishing in 8th and 9th place respectively. In the T4 race, the prologue was won by Rokas Baciuška (Red Bull Can-Am Factory), world champion in the category. For the start tomorrow, Nasser Al Attiyah has chosen to begin in 10th, Guerlain Chicherit 9th, Sébastien Loeb 8th and Yazeed Al Rajhi 7th. Cristina Guttiérez will be faced with the task of opening the way on tomorrow’s special, in front of Mitch Guthrie and Martin Prokop (Orlen Benzina Team).
FIM: HONDA’S STARS FLEX THEIR MUSCLES
Pablo Quintanilla, who won the ADDC in 2018 and finished 3rd last year, was victorious today with a time of 5’00’’, ahead of his team-mate Adrien Van Beveren (2’’ behind) and Toby Price (5’’ behind). It was a poor start for Skyler Howes (Husqvarna Factory Racing), who could only manage a 10th placed finish. As a result, the American, 3rd on the Dakar, was the last to be able to choose his starting position. In the Rally2 class, Toni Mulec (BAS World KTM Racing) beat Konrad Dąbrowski (Duust Diverse Racing). Paolo Lucci (BAS World KTM Racing) got off to a bad start with a 2-minute penalty after missing a way point. In the Quad race, Abdulaziz Ahli tasted victory ahead of Rodolfo Guillioli. Laisvydas Kancius (AG Dakar School) also received a 2-minute penalty for a missed way point and finds himself in last place in his category. On completion of the stage 1 starting order choice ceremony, the day’s quickest riders gathered as far as possible from having to open the way on the special. Quintanilla will start 11th, AVB 10th and Price 9th. Mohammed Al Balooshi, the last rider in the RallyGP class to finish, will open the special, followed by Skyler Howes and Nacho Cornejo (Monster Energy Honda). From the start of the special up to the finishing line, bonuses will be awarded to the first three riders, under the new regulations introduced in 2023 which aim to reward the efforts of the openers.