Anna Duxbury  |    |   0  |  22 February 2019

Nasser Al Attiyah sets the pace in the opening round of the 2019 Cross Country Rally season

Nasser Al-Attiyah has set the quickest time on the opening leg of the Qatar Cross Country Rally as he eyes up a sixth win at his home event.

And at the end of the short opening stage on day one of the five day desert adventure, Al-Attiyah holds a lead of 185 seconds. What's more, Glyn Hall's South African based Toyota Gazoo Racing team's Toyota Hilux pickups hold a comanding one-two-three lead with Al-Attiyah being chased by teammate Bernhard Ten Brinke, who initally suffered driving in his rival’s dust, and Yazeed Mohammad Al-Rajhi in third.

Speaking at the end of the day, Al-Attiyah said he was pleased to hold such a big advantage: "For a short stage, to have a lead of three minutes is very good," he said. "It was a little bit tricky with the navigation but we did not have any mistakes. Tomorrow’s long stage is not easy and we’ll have to manage a good speed."

Reigning champion Jakub Przygonski, who won this rally in 2018, sits in fourth, 10 seconds ahead of Vladimir Vasilyev in fifth after the shortest stage of the five-day event.

Both Eugenio Amos and Yasir Hamad Seaidn in sixth and seventh encountered navigational problems, with Seaidn also dropping time with a puncture.

Mohammed Al-Attiyah is in eighth, ahead of Mohammed Al Meer and Reinaldo Marques Varela who are separated by a mere 15 seconds.

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