Erfoud (Morocco): Adel Abdulla was given authorisation to start the penultimate selective section of the 2018 Rally of Morocco by race officials after the Qatari had missed two legs of the penultimate round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies following a niggling ECU issue on his Nissan Patrol Y62.
The QX Rally Team driver is still hopeful that he can salvage something from the demanding six-day African event, even though he is too far behind arch T2 championship rival Ahmed Al Shegawi and Russian driver Andrey Titov in the general classification.
Adel and his French navigator Jean-Michel Polato started the 342km loop stage through the Erg Chebbi around Erfoud from last position on the road in the car category, but they were quickly into a fast pace in their repaired and reprogrammed Nissan.
They finished the timed test that featured difficult navigation, dunes and punishing rocky tracks in an unofficial time of 6hrs 57min 49sec to claim second position in the T2 category behind Al-Shegawi after Titov was delayed with his own share of problems and lost the category lead to the Saudi.
Adel Abdulla said: “It was a long stage after the electrical problem we had with the ECU for two days. We managed to fix the car on Sunday. We are still in the race. It was a tough stage with a lot of different terrain, gravel, stones, sand and dunes. It was very tough in the dunes. We passed three or four places with different kinds of dunes. I think we did well. We did not push. The target now is to finish the race and see what will happen with the other competitors.”
Adel Abdulla’s challenge for honours comes with the support of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), Ooredoo Qatar and Nissan Qatar.
Action in the Rally of Morocco reaches a conclusion with the final stage between Erfoud and the ceremonial finish in Fes on Tuesday.