FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup: Zubair misses podium finish

Abdullah al Zubair (right) and his co-driver Nasser al Kuwari

Despite a new combination and engine problems, AZ Racing's Abdullah al Zubair, teamed up well with his new co-driver, Nasser al Kuwari, and nearly snatched a podium finish in the T3 class of the first round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup that concluded in Qatar on Tuesday. The duo came a close fourth as it displayed good speed and terrific teamwork to claim second-leg win in its class and was placed second ahead of the third stage.

However, turbo failure while leading in its class just 70km into third leg, saw the team return to service park in Losail to repair the engine.  A maximum 100-hour time penalty was slapped on AZ Racing to dash the team's podium hopes.

A number of punctures throughout the rally also pushed the team back but the Omani entry still delivered an impressive performance to finish fourth.

The rally that began on Friday had the duo finish second after two-legs. Racing in their BRP Can-Am Maverick X3 the duo suffered in the third stage before making a comeback to go into the penultimate day of the rally fourth in class and 12th overall. The pair ended fourth in its class but improved to 11th overall.

Zubair said, “This was a long and tough rally, the toughest of the year in terms of navigation. The terrain in Qatar is hard and it took its toll on us. We started very well and even though our engine trouble pulled us out of the podium fight on day three and we had to withdraw from the stage, we still managed to climb to fourth place. It’s been my first race with Nasser [al Kuwari] and I believe we worked well as a team. Now we put our focus on the next rounds in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”

Round one T3 class result: 1 Monster Energy Can-Am – Can-Am Maverick X3: 19hrs14m08s (Reinaldo Marques Varela/Gustavo Souza Gugelmin), 2 Zavidovo Racing Team – Can-Am Maverick X3: 21hrs47m20s (Fedor Vorobyev/Kirill Shubin), 3 Camelia Liparoti – Yamaha YZX1000R: 23hrs05m26s (Camelia Liparoti/Max Delfino), 4 AZ Racing – BRP Can-Am Maverick X3: 114hrs32m26s* (Abdullah Al Zubair/Nasser Al Kuwari) *Includes 100hr penalty for required engine repair on day three.

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