Motorsport: Abdullah Al Zubair to participate in FIA World Cup
February 4, 2019 | 4:36 PM
by Times News Service
Abudullah Al Zubair, centre, along with co-driver Faisal Al Raisi and team manager Ivan Ingrilli. Photo - Shabin E

MUSCAT: Oman’s cross country and Baja Rally racing driver Abdullah Al Zubair officially launched his and the AZ Racing Team’s 2019 World Cup racing programme at a press conference held yesterday at the Grand Millennium Hotel. Addressing the media Abdulla Al Zubair said. We are extremely glad to announce that we will be taking part in the World Cup Cross Country and Baja Rallies this year. I am really excited about the event as we will be the only team with a driver and navigator from the same country unlike other teams who have at least one foreigner onboard. Outlining the key factors of the championship Abdullah said that the FIA World Cup will take them through three continents over 12 countries with 13 race in all which will consist of 14,000km of off-road driving, which is the distance from Muscat to New York. Al Zubair who has achieved some outstanding results during the last season of the World Cup said, that his programme for this year will include participating in both the World Cup for Bajas (500km races) as well as the World Cup for Cross Country Rallies (2000km races). AZ Racing’s entry will be engineered and prepared by the German ‘South Racing’ team, the official works team for CanAm who have achieved spectacular results in Cross Country and Baja Rallies in Portugal and Spain, as well as Dakar Rally with four podium finishes after six days of racing. The Omani champion Abdullah Al Zubair with his navigator and co-driver, Faisal Al Raisi, will seek to go one step further this year and win the championship and to make his country proud by putting it on the cross country map and above all to meet the aspirations of the Omani sports audience who always stand behind every successful and ambitious Omani athlete in their goal to achieve remarkable athletic achievements. “We have a very challenging and exciting year ahead and we are all very much looking forward to it. The new T3 regulations have made the level of competition extremely high and the championship will be contested till the very end. However I am very confident of the setup of the team and believe we have a good chance at the title. AZ racing will kick start their title bid with the first of the Baja rallies in Russia which will take place from February 14 to 17 in extreme cold conditions with the temperature falling to minus 40 degrees, followed by the Baja Dubai from March 7-9. Taking them to Italy, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Jordan and finally Portugal in October. Abdullah Al Zubair has achieved strong results in the races in which he participated last season and left a clear impression in his first official season. In his first participation last year, Abdullah with his navigator Faisal Al Raisi achieved his first win when he came third in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in the GCC category using a Toyota Hilux car. Al Zubair continued to achieve results that impressed the motorsport community in the same year after winning the Qatar Baja Rally when he claimed first place overall in the last day of the four-day rally which took place in the deserts and regions of Qatar. In that race he recorded 45 minutes 33 seconds ahead of the second-placed Saudi Ahmed Al Shigawi (2018 World Champion) and the third-placed Qatari Adil Abdullah (2016 World Champion). By obtaining first place in the Qatar Baja, Al-Zubair began to be seen as a new name in the endurance rally scene. In his first participation outside GCC region, Al Zubair participated in Europe with a Can-Am car, where he acheived his personal and national achievement as the first Omani to participate in a Cross Country or Baja Rally outside the GCC region. Al Zubair participated in the Spanish Baja Aragón Rally, where he achieved a remarkable sixth place in the general ranking at the Spanish Baja Aragón Rally. Abdullah Al Zubair crowned his 2018 season finishing second at the Baja Poland, a new record for any Omani and GCC drivers in 2018. The three-day rally took place in the Strechen area in the west of the Republic of Poland. The champion of Oman was crowned after a fierce competition with the European competitors participating in this rally. Baja Races Schedule:  Baja Russia 14-17 February 2019  Baja Dubai 7-9 March 2019  Bahia Italy 20-23 June 2019  Baja Spain 25 -28 July 2019  Baja Hungary 8-11 August 2019  Baja Poland August 29-September 1, 2019  Baja Jordan 19-22 September 2019  Baja Portugal 24-26 October 2019 Cross Country Rally Race Schedule: - Qatar Rally 21-26 February 2019 - Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 30 March - 4 April 2019 - Turkmenistan Rally 5-11 May 2019 - Kazakhstan Rally 26 May - 1 June 2019 - Morocco Rally 4-8 October 2019

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