The Toyota Hilux driver collected 1.5 bonus points for setting the fastest time in Stage 1, and added another bonus point by going second-fastest in Stage 2. This brings the Qatari driver ever closer to securing the FIA World Cup title, as his only rival for the cup, Lucio Alvarez (Toyota Hilux) finds himself in sixth place after the opening two stages, 24min 28sec adrift of the lead.
Many dunes punctuated Stage 2 of the rally, with navigation again playing a big role. As the first car into the stage, Nasser and Mathieu had to pick their way towards each waypoint, and lost approximately 2min hunting for the second waypoint of the day. Despite this, they pushed on and made up time to finish in second place on the stage, just 69sec behind the winners.
Nasser reported no technical problems with the Toyota Hilux, and the car is in perfect condition for tomorrow’s stage.
Stage 3 comprises 249km of timed stage, with a long liaison of 229km before the start. The terrain is expected to feature more sandy tracks and small dunes, and there are passage controls at 77km, 172km and 232km. A short liaison will bring the crews back to the bivouac near the city of Hail, in Saudi Arabia’s An Nafud desert.
Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “With a comfortable lead there was no need to push too hard, but the navigation in this area is quite tricky. It was a good day overall, and the car ran absolutely perfectly. Nasser and Mathieu are clearly in control, and know exactly what to do in order to seal the deal.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “It went well today, and I am quite happy to finish the day without any problems. We decided not to push today, but tomorrow we’ll have a better road position, so maybe we can increase the pace slightly. Today was a really fast stage, with tough navigation and plenty of camel grass. But tomorrow is a new day, and I think the terrain will be quite different to what we’ve experienced so far.”
STAGE 2 RESULTS:
1. Jakub Przygonski/Timo Gottschalk MINI 3hr 47min 27sec
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel Toyota Hilux (TGR) +1min 09sec
3. Denis Krotov/Konstantin Zhiltsov MINI +2min 17sec
4. Lucio Alvarez/Armand Monleon BMW +3min 27sec
5. Sebastien Halpern/Bernardo Graue MINI +9min 09sec
STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 2:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel Toyota Hilux (TGR) 7hr 04min 18sec
2. Denis Krotov/Konstantin Zhiltsov MINI +7min 11sec
3. Jakub Przygonski/Timo Gottschalk MINI +7min 14sec
4. Sebastien Halpern/Bernardo Graue MINI +19min 17sec
5. Vladminir Vasilyev/Oleg Uperenko BMW +19min 48sec