Al-Rajhim, Varela and Dabrowski looking for points for the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallyes   

It’s cross country rally time again. The Sealine Cross Country Rally – third round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallyes – will officially start tomorrow in Doha, Qatar. 43 cars (including 11 Fia Priority drivers) are expected to take part in the event, which will last from Saturday 18 to Friday 24 April.

The defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah is the main favourite for the final victory, even though Overdrive Racing Teams aims to the first spot with three competitive drivers. The Belgian team has entered three Toyota Hiluxes in order to take repeat, or even improve, the same result of 2012, when it ranked first, second and fifth. Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi, navigated by German Timo Gottschalk, has the highest expectations since he knows sections of the Qatar desert well from his forays into FIA Middle East special stage rallying; while Brazilian Varela and his co-driver Gustavo Gugelmin have a useful track record in the deserts around Doha where they claimed victory on the last stage in 2014. The Pole due Marek Dabrowski-Jacek Czachor were also consistent competitors last year as they finished third overall.

Sealine Cross Country Rally is a crucial step for Overdrive Racing that clinched the victory in Baja Russia thanks to Tapio Suominen while in Abu Dhabi collected a fourth and a fifth place with Al-Rajhi and Dabrowski, who are now chasing the top of the FIA World Cup general standing. Overdrive director Jean-Marc Fortin is confident: “I have a feeling that the championship is wide open after what happened in Abu Dhabi. We will ask Yazeed and Marek to push hard and keep in contact and gain as many points as possible. After Sealine, the next Baja-type rallies favour us much more and we have good news coming with a new 2015-specification Toyota Hilux for Yazeed in Egypt.”

After the administrative and technical verifications of Saturday and Sunday scheduled at the Losail International Circuit, the race will begin on Monday morning from Losail with the first special stage. Four more legs will follow for total 1926 km while the awarding ceremony is expected to take place on Friday evening.

Sources: Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation, Gulf Times