Friday, June 14
07:42 PM

Oman Rally Team’s Al Rawahi frustrated by technical issues in Sardinia 

1 Jun 2024

 Alghero, Sardinia – The Oman Rally Team’s Abdullah al Rawahi gained his first taste of gravel rallying in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) at the Rally Italia Sardegna but his progress after the opening six stages had been hampered by brake problems, overheating and an engine sensor issue.

After four speed tests on Friday afternoon and two specials on Saturday morning, the Omani had been continually frustrated in his M-Sport Poland-prepared Ford Fiesta Rally3, although he was gaining experience of the demanding Sardinian gravel stages and the pace needed to be competitive in this year’s JWRC.

He and British co-driver Ross Whittock opened their account on Friday afternoon with two passes through a pair of gravel stages between Osilo and Tergu and Sedini and Castelsardo to the north of Alghero on the northwest of the island.

Al Rawahi safely negotiated the opening stage in a time of 19min 42.1sec on a special where Estonian Romet Jürgenson clocked the quickest time and moved into the lead. After setting the 11th quickest time on the first stage, Al Rawahi was ninth on the second one, as he quickly adapted to the demanding gravel terrain, despite brake issues and a concern about overheating.

But an engine sensor issue caused the Ford Fiesta to lose power before the repeat runs through the two stages and Al Rawahi reached the overnight halt in Alghera in 14th of the registered JWRC runners.

He said: “We finished the opening four stages but I had issues with the brakes on the first one and the car was overheating. Then we lost the power in the second stage and we had to cruise through the third and fourth stages. The team managed to sort the issue at the service so that we were able to continue.”

With the sensor issue sorted for Saturday morning, Al Rawahi tackled the first pass through the Tempio Pausania stage where Jürgenson continued to be the pace-setter. But ongoing brake issues after just two kilometres of the stage and a minor accident as a result continued to frustrate the Omani, although he was able to conserve 14th place in JWRC heading to the sixth Tula-Erula special.

On a stage where Bolivia’s Bruno Bulacia overhauled Jürgenson to snatch a 5.3-second lead, Al Rawahi was still unable to showcase his potential and a 90-second time penalty for being nine minutes late at the time control at the start of the stage pushed the Omani down to 15th in the category.

After further action in the Tempio Pausania, Tula-Erula, Monte Lerno-Monti Di Ala and Coiluna-Loelle stages on Saturday afternoon, two passes through the Cala Flumini and Sassari-Argentiera specials rounds off the weekend’s action on the Mediterranean island on Sunday morning.

© 2021 Apex Press and Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Mesdac