Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser, Spaniard Marc Coma and Pole Rafal Sonik claimed outright victories in their respective car, motorcycle and quad categories of the four-day 2013 Sealine Cross-Country Rally, which finished in southern Qatar on Friday. The trio held on to their overnight advantages in very different circumstances to clinch the wins after a punishing all-desert route of over 1,500km had tested both man and machine to the limit. Schlesser, Chilean rider Francisco Lopez and Sonik were triumphant on the fourth and final stage.
Schlesser and his Russian co-driver Konstantin Zhiltsov started the final selective section with an advantage of 25min 46sec over the Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc and Schlesser surged into the lead of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies with his first win of the new season by the eventual margin of 31min 18sec. “Yes, very happy, a nice but difficult race,” said Schlesser. “It was not so easy and I catch my finger in the steering wheel in a hole today, but the win has put us in a good position.”
Holowczyc reached the finish in second overall with his Mini All4 Racing and the Overdrive Racing Toyota Hiluxes of Venezuelan Nunzio Coffaro and Kazakh Aidyn Rakhimbayev were third and fourth. “Second place is the first loser,” reflected Holowczyc. “This race was ideal for the Buggies, fast, open and bumpy. With the new regulations, we don’t have the power and have to rely on reliability. We see with Nasser, like on the Dakar, he was fast but the car was not reliable. If the rules are not changed the future is for the Buggy!”Comments (