Oman's AZ Racing battling back FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup finale
October 8, 2019 | 7:54 PM
by Times News Service
Racing duo were dealt a dramatic blow part way through the stage when they had to stop to repair the engine in their Can-Am Maverick T3. - Supplied photo

Fez: Abdullah Al Zubair and Faisal Al Raisi are currently in the midst of mounting a strong and sustained fightback during the final round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, the Rallye du Maroc, after engine problems on the opening stage cost the duo any hope of a podium challenge.

Starting out the rally in the deserts of Morocco on Saturday, 5th October, with their eyes firmly fixed on a T3 class podium bid, the AZ Racing duo were dealt a dramatic blow part way through the stage when they had to stop to repair the engine in their Can-Am Maverick T3.

Cruelly losing two full hours in the process, the Omani team-mates were determined to undo as much of the damage done as possible and immediately began to hit back with terrific pace from Al Zubair and great navigation from Al Raisi.

Recovering as strongly as they could, the AZ Racing sportsmen ended day one pretty much at the tail of the entry and with a monumental task ahead. Working together impressively, though, they then started to climb back up the order.

After the second stage on Sunday, 6th October, the Oman Automobile Association-backed racers had gained no fewer than 14 positions overall to move up into 24th spot in the outright classification and ninth in the T3 class.

On day three, Monday, 7th October, Al Zubair and Al Faisal continued to recover impressively across the challenging course and by the end of the third stage they were up to seventh in T3 and inside the outright top 20, in 19th position overall.

With two more days of intense action through the vast deserts of Morocco, and hundreds of kilometres standing between the teams and the finish on Wednesday, 9th October, the AZ Racing pair are targeting even bigger gains – and improving their experience – as the event continues.

Abdullah Al Zubair: “The first day was going nice, but then we had an engine problem and had to stop for two hours fixing it. Then we continued the stage, but the problems blew away our hopes of challenging for the podium so now it’s all about gaining experience. Faisal is getting better with the navigation so now the rally is an opportunity for us to learn as much as we can.

“The second day was better, we jumped 14 positions overall, and after day three we climbed into the overall top 20 – and seventh in class – so I think we’re making good progress. With two more days to go, the plan is to keep gaining time and pushing for the best possible finish we can.”

Stage four in Morocco is contested today, Tuesday, 8th October, with the final stage of the Rallye du Maroc taking place on Wednesday, 9th October.

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