So close for Leeroy Poulter and Dirk von Zitzewitz

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Motorsport: Qatar Rally


Stage 4 of the 2017 Qatar Cross Country Rally took place to the west of Qatar’s capital Doha today, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Leeroy Poulter and Dirk von Zitzewitz (Toyota Hilux) narrowly miss out on a stage win. The pair finished just 1:29 behind stage winners Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi and navigator Khalid Al Kendi Peugeot, after 337km of racing.

Poulter/Von Zitzewitz were the fourth crew to tackle today’s stage, which featured a mix of terrain types and extremely difficult navigation. A strong performance so far saw them starting the day in second place overall, just 3:23 behind race leaders Nasser Al Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel (Toyota Hilux). Their fourth position on the road, however, made Stage 4 the perfect time to attack.

“Parts of today’s stage were completely new for everyone, which leveled the playing field somewhat,” said Poulter from the end of the stage. “This allowed us to push a bit harder, and Dirk and I also gelled really well in the car today.”

Their teamwork, strategy and pace paid off, as they lead most of the stage. With 60km to go, they had built up a lead of nearly 1:30, but some tough navigation near the end took the sting out of their attack, and the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crew ended second on the stage by just 1:29.

“Crucially this performance has cemented Leeroy and Dirk’s second position in the overall standings, and closed the gap to Nasser and Mathieu to 2:56,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall, from the bivouac in Doha. “Tomorrow brings a long final stage, but they’ll be the second car into the stage which could make navigation a bit trickier.”

Current race leaders Al Attiyah/Baumel finished today’s stage in the third-fastest time, trailing Poulter/Von Zitzewitz by 27 seconds. Jakub Prygonski and navigator Tom Colsoul (MINI) remain in third place in the overall standings, 3:23 behind the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crew.

The Qatar Cross Country Rally is the fourth round of this year’s FIA Cross Country World Cup. The event comprises five stages, all run to the west of Doha. Tomorrow will see the final test of 343km, before the rally concludes with a podium ceremony in the capital city.

RESULTS – STAGE 4:

Al Qassimi/Al Kendi (Peugeot)     3:22:05.00
Poulter/Von Zitzewitz (Toyota)    +1:29
Al Attiyah/Baumel (Toyota)             +1:56
Prygonski/Colsoul (MINI)               +3:18
Abu Issa/Panseri (MINI)                 +7:14
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 4:

Al Attiyah/Baumel (Toyota)             10:27:29.00
Poulter/Von Zitzewitz (Toyota)    +2:56
Prygonski/Colsoul (MINI)               +6:19
Al Qassimi/Al Kendi (Peugeot)     +8:12
Abu Issa/Panseri (MINI)                 +9:48

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