Qatar Cross Country Rally - Super Special: 4.85 km
After the press conference and briefing, the riders headed for the Losail complex motocross track, which was adapted into a 4.85 kilometre Super Special that the riders were not allowed to recce. Unusual in a prologue – which are generally shorter - the competitors had a road book that was necessary to follow in order to escape the many dangers including dozen of pools of muddy water.
To attack this first selective test, the competitors left in reverse of their current classification in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. The two quad riders enrolled in the national team therefore left first and took the first pool ... One going over the top of his quad to land in the mud and the second who got stuck for a little while ...
Then came the leaders of the discipline, the 13 motorcycles and 7 FIM quads, many of them having previously raced in motocross. Five-times FIM Enduro World Champion, Antoine Meo (KTM) made an astonishing demonstration of his talent and his aggressive, but very clean riding. At the end of the test, the clock showed that he won the Super Special in a time of 4'31.90 with an average of 64.21 km/h.
"In one of the pools, I swallowed some stagnant water," commented the Frenchman, "and on arrival at the finish I was sick ... I hope this will not continue. As I won the prologue, I will be able to choose my place and I will leave at the back because tomorrow there are 334 km of Special and 400 notes on the road book, which means a note every 500 meters ... It's going to be complicated to read so I prefer to follow my comrades and continue my navigational learning. "
In second, Matthias Walkner (KTM) also "put on big gas" as the bikers say in their jargon and finished 6.90 seconds behind Meo. Third spot went to Sam Sunderland (KTM) this completed the first podium followed by Pela Renat (Husqvarna), Kevin Benavides (Honda), Paulo Gonçalves (Honda), Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna), Adam Tomiczek (KTM) and Maciej Giemza (KTM).
The Peruvian Alexis Hernandez (Yamaha) won the quad class in front of Rafal Sonik, who was happy to have recovered his Yamaha, followed by Dutchman, Kees Koolen, Rodolfo Guillioli and Camelia Liparoti.
Super Special provisional classification
1. Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM 450 Rally 4min 31.9sec
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 Rally 4min 38.8sec
3. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 Rally 4min 40.2sec
4. Pierre Alexander Renet (FRA) Husqvarna 450 Rally 4min 42.8sec
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG) Honda 450 CRF Rally 4min 46.6sec
6. Paolo Gonçalves (PRT) Honda 450 CRF Rally 4min 48.1sec
7. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna 450 Rally 5min 00.0sec
1. Alexis Hernandez Ponce (PER) Yamaha Raptor 700R 5min 17.0sec
2. Rafal Sonik (POL) Yamaha YFM 700 R 5min 30.1sec
3. Kees Koolen (NLD) Barren Racer One 690 5min 36.3sec
4. Rodolfo Schippers (GUA) Yamaha Raptor 700R 5min 48.6sec
5. Camelia Liparoti (ITA) Yamaha Raptor 700R 6min 35.7sec
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FIM Communications Photo @RallyZone