Poulter / Zitzewitz poised for win in Doha rally

  • SA Toyota team still up front
  • Final day, back to Doha, today
  • Friday another day of close racing
PENULTIMATE STAGE: Toyota's Leeroy Poulter and Dirk von Zitzewitz at speed on the 2017 Doha Rally. Image: Toyota SA
PENULTIMATE STAGE: Toyota’s Leeroy Poulter and Dirk von Zitzewitz at speed on the 2017 Doha Rally. Image: Toyota SA

DOHA, Qatar – Stage 4 of the 2017 Qatar Cross-Country rally west of Qatar’s capital Doha on Friday (Apl 21) saw Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Leeroy Poulter / Dirk von Zitzewitz (Toyota Hilux) narrowly miss a stage win.

They finished 1min29 behind stage winners Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi / Khalid Al-Kendi in a Peugeot after 337km of racing.

Poulter/Von Zitzewitz were the fourth crew to tackle Friday’s  stage over a mix of terrain with what was described as “extremely difficult navigation”. They started in second place overall, 3min23 behind race leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah / Mathieu Baumel (Hilux).

READ MORE Doha Rally features on Carman’s Corner

Their fourth on the road, the Toyota team said, made Stage 4 the perfect time to attack and Poulter said after the stage: “Parts of the route were new to everybody, which levelled the playing field somewhat and let us to push a bit harder. Dirk and I also gelled really well.”

Their strategy and pace were so good that they led for most of the day but, while leading and with only 60km and a 90sec lead,  some tough navigation “took the sting out of our attack” and they finished second (day and overall times below).

LONG FINAL STAGE

Toyota Gazoo’s team boss, Glyn Hall, told The Corner in a media release: “This performance cemented Leeroy and Dirk’s second place overall and closed the gap to Nasser / Mathieu to 2min56. Saturday’s final stage will be long but they’ll be second into the stage and that could make navigation a bit trickier.”

Overall leaders Al-Attiyah / Baumel finished Friday third-fastest, 27sec behind Poulter. Jakub Prygonski / Tom Colsoul (Mini) remain third overall, 3min23 behind the Toyota Gazoo crew.

The Doha rally is Round 4 of the 2017 Cross-Country World Cup whose  five stages are being run west of the city.  Today (Saturday) will see the final test of 343km to the Qatari capital and the podium ceremony.

RESULT – STAGE 4
1 Al-Qassimi/Al-Kendi (Peugeot) 3hr22min05
2 Poulter/Von Zitzewitz (Toyota) +1min29
3 Al-Attiyah/Baumel (Toyota) +1min56
4 Prygonski/Colsoul (Mini) +3min18
5 Abu Issa/Panseri (Mini) +7min14
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 4
1 Al-Attiyah/Baumel (Toyota) 10hr27min29
2 Poulter/Von Zitzewitz (Toyota) +2min56
3 Prygonski/Colsoul (Mini) +6min19
4 Al-Qassimi/Al-Kendi (Peugeot) +8min12
5 Abu Issa/Panseri (Mini) +9min48
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