Al Wahaibi powers to victory in Rally Oman
By staff - Sun Nov 27, 6:04 am
MUSCAT Hamed Al Wahaibi made a sensational start to his rallying comeback by clinching victory in Rally Oman 2011which concluded at the Oman Automobile Associations’s (OAA) sports complex in Muscat on Friday.
“This is a fantastic win for Wahaibi Motor Sports (WMS) on their first appearance and a useful exercise for me and the team,” said Al Wahaibi.
“The rally was very well organised, the stages were superb and there was great sportsmanship among all the competitors,” he added.
According to a press release from OAA, the Omani driver tackled the two gravel special stages at Arqi and Suwaqim and a further two stages repeated three times on Friday in his new Wahaibi Motor Sports (WMS)-backed
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
With the 92.7km of gravel stages a real test to the new Mitsubishi in a route of 309.9km, it was vital that Al Wahaibi and his Ulster co-driver Terry Harryman completed the eight-stage route without making a mistake and causing any damage.
Fourteen cars started the event and Al Wahaibi collected a puncture on the first stage. “Water had been sprayed on the surface to reduce the problem of dust, but it made one particular corner very slippery and the Mitsubishi slid wide and clipped a rock,” said Al Wahaibi.
The duo dropped around nine seconds to the stage winner, but managed to snatch a five-second advantage at the end of the opening day after setting the fastest time in SS2, with Hamoud Al Toqi and Khalid Al Minji in second and third places respectively.
Al Wahaibi extended his advantage to 1min 09secs after the first two stages, with Khaled Soomar, Al Toqi and Saif Al Harthy, his closest challengers, in a trio of other Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions.
The terrain was already taking its toll on the impressive entry and Waleed Al Khanusi, Ibrahim Al Abri and Zakariah Al Amri retired before the final four stages, the press release stated.