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Africa Eco Race 2019

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Late drama steers Kuba Przygonski to victory at Qatar Rally

Polish offroad ace Kuba Przygonski has driven to victory at the Qatar Cross-Country Rally. Przygonski and his Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul took on a top-class field of competitors and claimed the chequered flag in their Mini. The win increases the pair’s lead in the 2018 FIA Cross-Country World Cup.


The closest challenger to Przygonski and Colsoul for the majority of the five-day rally was local hero Nasser Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel. Heading into the final day of racing Al-Attiyah held a 15-minute advantage over Przygonski. The Qatari looked all set to win his home race for the sixth time in the last seven years.

Misfortune then struck the Toyota Hilux of Al-Attiyah and Baumel in the latter stages of the final day’s racing at the Qatar Cross-Country Rally. The leading duo found themselves out of the race due to suffering terminal engine issues. The incident opened the door for Przygonski to take the win.

“To overcome the navigation and take the win here in Qatar is very special.” – Kuba Przygonski

Al-Attiyah and Baumel’s Toyota Gazoo team-mates Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Robert Howie were also unable to pick up any championship points in Qatar. The South African duo dropped out of the race during Thursday’s desert stage when Howie injured his back as their Hilux landed in a deep hole in the dunes.

 The FIA Cross-Country World Cup continues with the seven-day Rally Kazakhstan starting on May 27.

As for two-wheel action there was a punishing schedule for both Toby Price and Laia Sanz at the Merzouga Rally last week. Price, the first Australian to win the Dakar, was forced to settle for sixth overall in Morocco after a less-than-straightforward week in the desert. Meanwhile, Sanz of Spain dug in to claim 14th spot on the general classification.

The two Red Bull KTM Factory Team riders both clocked up impressive milage on their KTM 450 Rally bikes in Morocco which will aid the bike’s development as well as personal fitness.

The next rally to be contested by the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team will be the Atacama Rally held in Chile from August 11-19.

Kuba Przygonski: "We are so happy. It was a really tough race from the beginning with the navigation and the terrain. We had no big problems during any of the five stages. Sad for Nasser, but this is motorsport. This can happen always. For the World Cup classification it is a superb result. There were some tears at the finish. To overcome the navigation and take the win here in Qatar is very special."

Nasser Al-Attiyah: "This is rally. This is a new car. From two days ago we had a small issue with the engine but we tried to keep going."

Toby Price: "I am here in one piece and we were able to test a lot of things on the bike and get some good training for the Dakar at the beginning of next year. I’m looking forward to the next rally now in the middle of the year and then we have a few more to contest on the run up to the Dakar."

Laia Sanz: "The rally has not been so good for me, my results have not been quite what I wanted for various reasons. On the plus side we were able to do a lot of constructive testing and we’ll go into the next rally even stronger now."

Christina Gaither - Red Bull,

Marie-France Estenave pour MFE-Live.com

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