TERUEL, Spain: Qatar’s Adel Abdulla opened his account with fourth place in the T3 category after the first timed selective section of Baja Spain Aragón, round four of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, on Friday.
The Can-Am Maverick X3 driver was eventually given his stage time of 2hrs 19min 45sec by rally officials for the first 164.78km selective section - where high summer temperatures and hanging dust hampered progress on the demanding gravel tracks through remote central Spain. Adel had been running closely behind the leading pack before dropping time in the dust of the final kilometres to the flying finish.
The stage time put the Qatari and French co-driver Jean-Michel Polato just 37 seconds behind the stage-winning Russian Aleksandr Dorosinskiy with Spain’s Gerard Farrés and Santiago Navarro rounding off the top three.
Oman’s Abdullah Al-Zubair and Italy’s series leader Michele Cinotto completed the special in fifth and sixth positions.
Belgian Ghislain de Mevius failed to reach the first checkpoint on the stage and Russia’s Fedor Vorobyev lost around 15 minutes after the 41.99km waypoint before the next timing point and went on to finish seventh in T3.
Adel, who is running a Can-Am prepared by the FN Speed Team with support from Ooredoo, said: “We finished the first stage. It was not a good stage for us. We had a problem with the dust when we were catching some cars. This is always an issue at this race. It did not help not having a Prologue stage (to determine starting positions) this time. Now we need to push for the lead over the next stages.”
The competitive action at Baja Spain Aragón concludes with a short run of 86.74km late on Friday afternoon and a repeat of the two stages on Saturday with the longer one of 164.78km set to run before the ceremonial finish in Teruel.