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BURAIDAH (Saudi Arabia): Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi overcame an overnight five-minute time penalty that had pushed him down to second place to recover, set the second fastest time and confirm victory in Rally Qassim 2019, the second round of the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship, on Saturday.

The Toyota Hilux driver was handed the time penalty by race officials on Friday evening for receiving outside assistance in the stage after his driveshaft issue. That had lifted Yasir Seaidan into the lead at the restart, but the challenge to Al-Rajhi and Ulster co-driver Michael Orr actually came from Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi on the last day.

The Abu Dhabi Racing driver set the fastest time of 1hr 47min 04sec on the Al-Shamasiya stage in his Peugeot 2008 and he and French co-driver Xavier Panseri reached the finish a mere 10 seconds adrift of Al-Rajhi’s Toyota after an impressive drive. 

“I am very happy to win Rally Qassim after the problems we had yesterday with the differential and losing a lot of time,” said Al-Rajhi. “I enjoyed the rally very much. The organisers did a great job to put on the first edition of Rally Qassim. The number of competitors was very high, even more than some of the international rallies in this region. 

“It was tough to lose so much time on Friday. It was difficult to get that time back today because the stages are flat out. I would also like to thank my strategic partner Toyota and Abdul Latif Jameel Motors. The Hilux was in its best place in the desert.”