Hamed starts Rally Oman 2012 in style
By staff - Tue Feb 14, 9:27 am
WMS team-mate Arif takes second place – MUSCAT — Hamed al Wahaibi began his new rallying season in emphatic style by winning the Muscat Rally, round one of the Rally Oman Championship, here yesterday. Partnered by new co-driver Zakarya al Aufi (the defending national co-driving champion), Hamed guided his Wahaibi Motor Sports (WMS)-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X to a comfortable win by the margin of five minutes and 41 seconds, but the Omani star was also delighted with the performance of his young protégé Arif al Kiyumi.
Hamed’s new 22-year-old team-mate finished a superb second overall in the second WMS-backed Mitsubishi, hence beginning his new association with Ulster co-driver Allan Harryman in brilliant style. “I have been so impressed with the maturity and way that Arif has performed,” enthused Harryman. “He drove sensibly without taking risks. The aim was to finish the rally and he has fulfilled the objective perfectly.”
The event was fought out over 100 competitive kilometres and three special stages, repeated three times, in a total route of 316km. The level of entries and quality of the cars continue to improve in the Rally Oman Championship, but the demanding terrain took its toll on some of the entrants.
Khalid Soomar, the defending national champion, was forced out with a suspension arm failure on the fourth stage and both Elias Zadjali and Saeed al Minji succumbed to tie rod and steering problems respectively.
“Rallying in Oman is certainly on the rise and it is pleasing to see the standard of competition and the high quality of event organisation,” said a delighted Hamed.
“Stage security was first class, the stages were flowing and challenging and a team of Omani radio communications staff have come on board to boost the marshalling and expertise on the stages.
“It was obviously nice to win the rally, but the real goal for 1328896940162950400 me is to nurture new talent in Oman and it was great to see Arif al Kiyumi perform so well in our new team. This was also the first rally in my career where I have been partnered by an Omani co-driver and Zakarya al Aufi did a superb job.”
Results: 1 Hamed al Wahaibi/Zakarya al Aufi (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X)59m 47s; 2 Arif al Kiyumi/Allan Harryman (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) 1h 05m 28s; 3 Khaled al Minji/Saif al Aifri (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII) 1h 07m 28s; 4 Saif al Harthy/Saif al Hinai (Subaru Impreza) 1h 15m 35s; 5 Khalil Soomar/Fahad al Zadjali (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution) 1h 15m 49s; 6 Zakariah al Amry/Abdullah al Amry (Subaru Impreza) 1h 18m 41s.
Source: Oman Observer