Omani rally driver Hamed Al-Wahaibi maintained his composure and managed his pace to perfection to seal a superb fourth overall and confirm the RC2 class win on his first appearance in the Oregon Trail Rally.
After setting a string of fourth fastest times behind eventual winner Brandon Semenuk, runner-up Travis Pastrana and third-placed Ken Block through Saturday’s stages in the Golendale area of neighbouring Washington State, the 53-year-old and his New Zealand co-driver Tony Sircombe set several fourth fastest times again in Oregon’s Dufur region on Sunday.
Despite a puncture on Sunday afternoon, he conserved the McKenna Motorsport-run Ford Fiesta R5 through the closing gravel stages to finish in a comfortable fourth overall, over 2min 50sec in front of nearest rival Javier Castro and over five and a half minutes ahead of sixth-placed Enda McCormack.
Al-Wahaibi’s much-vaunted class rival Kyle Tilley suffered electrical failure on Saturday. He traded some stage times with Al-Wahaibi before crashing out on the 18th and final stage of the demanding three-day rally.
“I am very happy with the performance on this rally,” said Al-Wahaibi. “I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun with a good atmosphere. I am pleased with the result. We tried to get a bit closer to the Open cars but there was no chance. The stages were completely flat all the time. I will definitely be coming back to do more rallies in the United States.”
Al-Wahaibi ran the Ford in the USA with logistical support from Asyad Express (an Omani delivery and logistics company) and Sandan Development LLC.