Muscat: Battling against odds, Oman’s rally stars Khalid Soomar and Hamid Al Qasmi won podium places in the 2017 UAE Rally Championship.
In the Fujairah Rally, the fifth and final round of 2017 UAE Rally Championship, the duo struggled with their machines but their consistent performances in the earlier rounds ensured they completed the season on a high.
While Khalid Soomar and his co-driver Issa Al Wardi won the second place in Group N, Hamid Al Qasmi and his co-pilot Mohamed Al Mazroui clinched third place in Group N despite his early retirement during the first stage of the Fujairah rally.
According to information received here, the rally was flagged off at the Beach Road in Fujairah before the first stage started at Fujairah dam.
For the record, Omani star Khalid Soomar did well in the first stage being the third fastest, recording a better timing than the Group N leader Sheikh Mohamed Al Qasimi of the UAE.
Hamed Al Qasmi though had to retire early in the stage with the engine of his Mitsubishi EVO 8 catching fire after just 2.8 kilometers from the starting point.
In the second stage at Asfai, Khalid Soomar continued with his good show and kept his position as the third fastest driver.
However, the Omani lost some speed in the third stage at Shawkat village and with that the time of almost one minute, dropping to fourth in the process.
For the rest of the rally, Soomar faced many issues but overcame all the problems to maintain his fourth position till the end. And that performance was enough for him to clinch overall second place in Group N of 2017 UAE Rally Championship.
A delighted Khalid Soomar said: “Well, I am happy to finish the rally today despite facing a lot of problems.”
“Glad to be the vice-champion of the season in UAE , but it always difficult to attend and compete in UAE rallies as it is too costly for me without support and sponsorship. I would like to really thank my only sponsor Target LLC for their support for last three seasons”.
Hamid Al Qasmi, meanwhile, said: “I am very upset to leave the rally so early, but it happened as this is a sport where anything can happened without any warning and I hope I can continue in competing in UAE rallies next season and would like to thank Al Zubair Corporation and Al Shanfari Group for their support in this rally.”