TERUEL (Spain): Qatar’s Adel Abdulla remains firmly in contention to challenge for the FIA T3 title at the halfway stage of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, after guiding his Can-Am Maverick X3 to fourth position in Baja Spain Aragón on Saturday.
Holding fourth in the category for modified cross-country vehicles at the night halt, the former FIA T2 World Champion settled into a competitive pace over the remaining two sections to stay well clear of his rivals and keep the pressure on the leading trio, despite losing time in the dust of several slower vehicles who were in his path.
Spaniard Santiago Navarro claimed outright victory over Russian Aleksandr Dorosinskiy by the margin of just five seconds with Spanish former enduro rider Gerard Farrés in third place.
But, with series leader Michele Cinotto and rival Fedor Vorobyev only finishing in fifth and seventh positions, the chasing pack have bunched up considerably to set up a grandstand finish to the T3 contest at the remaining four rounds in Hungary, Poland, Jordan and Portugal. Adel now trails the series leader by 17 points, having arrived in Teruel 19 points in arrears.
Adel is running a Can-Am prepared by the FN Speed Team with support from Ooredoo. At the finish in Teruel, he said: “Because of the problem with the flat tyre on Friday, we dropped to 30th or 31st overall and that made everything worse because you are starting behind slower drivers and you start to pass a lot of drivers. Some of them make you late.
“Then I caught one driver towards the middle of the stage and he did not want to move over. We arrived at the passage control together and I thought he would let me pass, but he didn’t. I continued behind him in the dust to the end of the stage. It was worse today.
“I pushed more on the last stage. Michele Cinotto was in front of me in the stage. I caught him after about 50km and I lost even more time until I took risks to get closer to him and he gave way. I lost more time. I pushed to the end and we managed to get 12 points here. Now I look to do something even better on the next race.”
After finishing the opening stage in fourth place on Friday, Adel stayed firmly in contention for victory through the second special where Navarro moved in front of Dorosinskiy in the overall standings and Farrés slipped to third.
Adel added: “We started the second stage very well and we caught a T1 car and passed them. Then I caught another car in the dust for more than 20km and I hit a rock and had a flat tyre. We changed the wheel and dropped some time. No problems with the car, expect for the flat tyre.”