Fes, Morocco: Qatar’s Adel Abdulla is in Morocco to prepare for the start of his most important cross-country rally of a dramatic season.
The six-day Rally of Morocco is the most popular round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and has attracted a quality entry across the board. But Adel Abdulla and his French navigator Jean-Michel Polato are concentrating on the T2 category for series production cross-country vehicles.
Adel currently holds second place in the Drivers’ Championship and trails series leader Ahmed Al-Shegawi of Saudi Arabia by just 16 points after winning the last two rounds of the series in Hungary and Poland. That enabled the QX Rally Team driver to close the gap on his rival from 30 points at the start of August.
Fifty points are on offer to the winner of the T2 category in the Moroccan event that starts with a Prologue stage in Fes on Thursday, October 4th and finishes back in the town on Tuesday, October 9th after five further desert selective sections.
With 36 points available for second place and 30 for third, Adel knows that a third successive win would move him to within two points of the Saudi in a worst-case scenario heading to what would be a thrilling showdown at the final round of the championship in Portugal at the end of the month.
The Nissan Patrol Y62 driver is confident of success in the Moroccan deserts where he faces competition from Al-Shegawi and Russian driver Alexey Titov and has valuable support from the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) Ooredoo Qatar and Nissan Qatar.
Adel said: “I came to Spain early with my team to prepare the car for Morocco. I think we have done good preparations and we are ready. I hope we have a good race like the last two with my new team. This is a very difficult rally, probably one of the most difficult of the season. There are a lot of teams and the road conditions are tough with the gravel, dunes and mountains. I hope that the preparations give us a very good result.
“We are interested as well to see the new organiser of the race (David Castera). I hope the race will be better than before, as we have been promised. In the end we hope to win and finish the championship in this race. Either I will be the winner of the World Cup or my rival Ahmed will be.”
Action gets underway with a 10km Prologue on Thursday. The first desert selective starts out of Fes on Friday (October 5th) and is split into two timed sections of 103km and 91km before arriving in Erfoud – an oasis town situated in the Drâa-Tafilalet region of eastern Morocco.
The second, third and fourth selective sections of 329km, 289km and 342km loop around Erfoud on October 6th, 7th and 8th and action draws to a conclusion with a fifth section of 198km en route to the finish in Fes on October 9th.
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – T2 standings after round 9:
1. Ahmed Al-Shegawi (SAU) 201pts
2. Adel Abdulla (QAT) 185pts
3. Yuliya Khegay-Migunova (RUS) 42pts
4. Marat Abykayev (KAZ) 36pts
5. Alexey Titov (RUS) 25pts
6. Anders Svensson (SWE) 15pts