Nasser well in front at end of day two in Lebanon Rally
Qatari wards off challenge from host country’s drivers to take control.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah was comfortably perched at the top of the overall standings at the end of day two of the 42ndLebanon International Rally.
He was 5:39.1 seconds clear of second placed Rodrigue Rahi of Lebanon.
The six special stages on the day at Hboub, Ain Aaya and Sourat saw Nasser establish his supremacy, winning all of them comfortably.
Nasser, however, could not move into the lead till the Special Stage 4 at Sourat, a splendid start by Lebanon’s Roger Feghali on Friday night at the Beirut Waterfront hitting his chances.
Nasser was aware of the challenge posed by Feghali. “I think there will be stiff competition with Roger. He is the man to beat,” the Qatari had said before the rally started.
STANDINGS (AFTER SS 7)
- 1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar)/Matthieu Baumel (France) 1:19:25.4
- 2. Rodrigue Rahi (Lebanon)/ Georges Nader (Lebanon) 1:25:04.5
- 3. Patrick Njeim (Lebanon)/Thierry Rouhanna (Lebanon) 1:25:58.0
- 4. Massaad Henry (Lebanon) /Roger Ghosn (Lebanon) 1:29:10.8
- 5. Tarek Younis (Lebanon) /Nader Hamzi (Lebanon) 1:31:50.1
Pegged back early, Nasser struggled to overtake Feghali despite winning the two Special Stages on Saturday morning at Hboub and Ain Aaya. In Sourat, Nasser finished the 28.85km stage in 13:25.1 seconds while Feghali clocked 13:26.5 seconds. That gave the Qatari driver the chance to move into top position even though the lead was slender.
In the afternoon, there was no stopping the Qatari driver as he pulled away from Feghali and the rest of the field. By the end of the day he had established a clear lead. Feghali, who was impressive in the morning stages, faltered in the afternoon to place 10th overall at the end of the day.
Other Lebanese drivers improved in the afternoon session and moved up in the overall standings.
Rodrigue Rahi and Patrick Njeim came up with good displays as did Massad Henry and Tarek Younis.
Kuwaiti driver Mshari Althefri and his Qatari co-driver Nasser Al Kuwari were pushed to seventh in the standings as the Lebanese drivers stole the spotlight.
Qatar’s Nasser Khalifa Al Attiyah seemed to be struggling with the challenges on the tarmac surfaces as he was placed 16th.