Saeed Thani Rally Al Khaleej stage one notes

THANI BOOSTS CHALLENGE WITH CLASSIC STAGE WIN Abu Dhabi challenger shows he is a quick learner as Wirth, Schmitt increase lead in Rally Al Khaleej Dubai, UAE, 18 March, 2005: Saeed Thani, the Abu Dhabi classic car enthusiast making...

THANI BOOSTS CHALLENGE WITH CLASSIC STAGE WIN

Abu Dhabi challenger shows he is a quick learner as Wirth, Schmitt increase lead in Rally Al Khaleej

Dubai, UAE, 18 March, 2005: Saeed Thani, the Abu Dhabi classic car enthusiast making his competitive debut in the Rally Al Khaleej, has given himself fresh hope of scoring a debut victory in the event.

Thani admitted that he has a lot to learn about classic car rallying after an elementary mistake saw a first special stage victory slip from his grasp.

But he also proved that he is a quick learner by winning the second special stage in Liwa on Thursday in his 1960 Ford Thunderbird before taking fifth place later in the day as the event continued with a 390-km third stage to Al Ain.

By the end of the day Thani had climbed to third position overall in his 1960 Ford Thunderbird in which he is being accompanied by his nine-year-old son, Thani Saeed Thani.

After reaching the end of the 370-km first stage to Liwa well ahead of the field, Thani collected time penalties for checking in ahead of the target time and dropped from contention.

He bounced back by winning stage two ahead of Germany's Hans Werner Wirth and co-driver Dr Ursula Schmitt in a 1955 Jaguar XK 140. They then strengthened their overall lead by winning stage three from the 1970 AC Cobra of Dietr Krauschmidt and Bernd Freund and the 1971 Mercedes Benz 350SL of Peter and Martina Bockemuehl.

Lying second overall is the 1973 BMW Coupe 3.0 CS of Willi and Christina Mayer, with Krumschmidt and Freund sharing third place with Thani.

Taking place under the patronage of Lt-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE's Minister of Interior, the Rally Al Khaleej is sponsored by Siemens and by Etihad Airways, the official carrier.

Following tomorrow's (Saturday) rest day the rally continues on Sunday with a 280-km passage to Fujairah featuring two special stages.

-totalcomp-

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Series Other rally