Yesterday, Friday night, the engines roared, signaling the start of the competitions, and everyone was waiting for the awaited competition, although it was only in the dress of “show competitions”, but the rivalry and excitement are often the main scenes between Feghali and Al-Attiyah in “feeling the pulse” before the expected due today.
As was expected, the competition was overtaken as the beginning. The Qatari armed with his usual French navigator Mathieu Baumel (participating with a driving license from Andorra) and his Volkswagen Polo GTIR5 in its latest version, which was modified despite the fact that the Volkswagen Group stopped developing the car. It was said that suspension devices developed specifically for asphalt tracks very similar to the tracks of the Lebanon Rally were adopted.
On the other hand, Roger, in turn, was armed with a “Skoda Fabia Rally 2 Evo”, which he had specially brought for the Lebanon Rally. He brought back to him in the hot seat his usual navigator, Joseph Matar, after he had participated in the two local championship rounds (Rally Al Rabie and Jezzine) on board two cars classified in Group N and with navigators. Two different (Saleem Wakim and Ziad Shehab).
The excitement reached its climax last night, when Roger was the second last on the poles in reverse of the hierarchy and managed to achieve the record for the stage of 2.52 km, which he achieved in 2019, with a record of 1.48.3 minutes, but everyone was waiting for the reaction of Al-Attiyah, who was the last pole and sealed the competitions by breaking Feghali’s record By 0.04 seconds, he clocked 1.47.9 minutes.
With this writing, the second stage “Ain Aya – Deir Bella” ended, where Roger Feghali, who was the fastest after 21.40 km, regained the lead in the general classification with a total time of 11.49.2 minutes, compared to 11.50.5 minutes for Al-Attiyah.
The third special stage of the speed (26.12 km) started, which is “Sourat – Dahr Abi Yaghi”, where Roger managed to be faster again, recording 14.19.52 minutes, compared to 14.38.88 for Al-Attiyah, who fell in second place in the general classification by about 20 seconds.
Returning to the exhibition stage, and in competitions within the competitions, i.e. Group N cars, Roger’s son Alex Feghali came third, 9 seconds behind the fastest, followed by Shadi Fakih fourth and Frederick the sponsor fifth in a list of 20 cars that took the starting badge.
The rally was launched on the impact of banning drivers Joseph Hendi (Levo 10), Joseph Salem (Peugeot 208) and Asim Arif (Renault Clio RS) from participating due to the fuel tank not conforming to the laws in force. Before the technical examiner delegated by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile “FIA”, the jury composed of the trio Hani Shaaban, Khaled Zakaria and Fadi Aoun, in turn, issued a decision not to participate.
The first stage of the show, with a length of 2.52 km, which was held in the courtyard of the organizing club, was preceded by a show of classic cars, which was presented by the former Lebanese rally and hill-climbing champion Nabil (Billy) Karam on a “Lancia Delta Integral HF” car. It was also shown in drifting. For drivers Paul Kasifi and Roni Darawi
The actual competition of the rally will start on Saturday, with a total distance of 478.83 km, of which 192.30 km is the length of the ten special stages of speed.
The crews took the starting badge for the first stage after they headed at night to Jbeil to the municipality of Byblos parking lot to finish the first part in the closed position before the start of the second stage of the second part of the rally on Saturday 4 September at 9.03 am.
The top 10 standings for the show stage:
1_ Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (Qatar) – Matthew Bommel (Andorra) – Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 / 5: 1.47.9 minutes
2 – Roger Feghali (Lebanon) – Joseph Matar (Lebanon) – Skoda Fabia Rally 2 Evo / 1.48.3 d.
3- Alex Feghali (Lebanon) – Georges Daibes (Lebanon) – Evo 10/ 1.56.9 d.
4- Shadi Fakih (Lebanon) – Samer Sfeir (Lebanon) – Evo9/1.58.3 d.
5- Roderick Al-Rai (Lebanon) – George Nader (Lebanon) – Evo9/1.59.0 d.
6- Ahmed Khaled (Lebanon) – Musa Djeherian (Jordan) – Evo 10/1.59.2 d.
7- Mishari Al-Dhafiri (Kuwait) – Nasser Saadoun Al-Kuwari (Qatar) – Evo 10 / 1.59.7 d.
8- Tariq Younes (Lebanon) – Rony Bou Abdo (Lebanon) – Evo 9/2.00.6 d.
9- Elias Al-Dahni (Lebanon) – Amin Aqel (Lebanon) / Citroen DS3 / 2.02.4 d.
10 – Basel Abu Hamdan (Lebanon) – Firas Elias (Lebanon) – Citroen DS3 / 2.02.5 d.