2023 Qatar International Baja
FIM Bajas World Cup, round 2
March 16th-18th, 2023
The Qatar International Baja is renowned for its very precise navigation and Junior rider Konrad Dabrowski (KTM Duust) won the race for the second successive year.
While many riders got lost, Briton Robert Wallace (KTM) managed to maintain his focus to secure the second step of the podium. Mirjam Pol (KTM) has every right to be very proud of her performance, as she sailed through the field to secure the final place on the podium.
Coached by his father Marek for riding and by his former teammate Jacek Czachor to improve his navigation skills, the Konrad Dabrowski has made great progress and clinched victory by more than 38 minutes from Robert Wallace.
He said: “I like coming to Qatar because I have a lot of experience and I can work on my navigation and my riding there. I won the Prologue on Thursday and was able to choose the ninth starting position for SS2. It was a good position to catch the leaders and gain as much time as possible, which I managed to do before refuelling. I understood then that the result would be there. In the second part of the special, I opened the track and it was a very nice day. Today, I took the start not in good shape at all because I was sick after having slept with the air conditioning. It was really difficult to ride in the second part of the stage... I arrived very tired but happy to win this race!”
The nice surprise came when Mirjam Pol climbed on to the third step of the podium and obviously won the Women's category. She said: "I was very surprised to finish on the podium of the Qatar International Baja. Because, yesterday, I was eighth overall. But when I arrived in the dunes, I only had two tracks in front of me, whereas I had started the last selective section in seventh position. I had a good pace in the race but it is mainly thanks to my good navigation that I am in third position. For two days, I marked all the waypoints. In any case, it's a nice surprise!”
Pol finished 1min 43sec ahead of Andrew Houlihan but the Australian had the consolation of winning the Veteran’s category and finishing in a fine fourth place.
A strong performance was expected from Paolo Lucci on this second round of the FIM Bajas World Cup, but the Italian rider withdrew on Friday because of an injury he had sustained on the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
Second overall after Friday’s stages, Australian rider Martin Chalmers retired on the final morning.
Mohammed Al-Rahmani climbed to fifth place at the expense of Canadian Jonathan Finn, who finished sixth. Mohammed Al-Balooshi, the leader of the championship after the first round in Saudi Arabia, was seventh at the finish while his brother, Sultan, retired after problems on Friday.
Quad winner Arnoud Dom was the big beneficiary after the retirements of Haitham Al-Tuwaijri and Abdulaziz Al-Ahli on the final stage. Mansoor Al-Suwaidi finished second and Hani Al-Noumesi climbed on to the third step of the podium.
Mirjam Pol won the Women's category, ahead of Poland's Joanna Modrzewska (KTM Duust) and Kuwait's Sarah Khuraibet (KTM Duust). Dabrowski stormed to Junior success, ahead of Finn (Honda) and Alex McInnes (Husqvarna).
The Veteran’s category was won by Houlihan (Husqvarna) from Cesare Zacchetti (KTM) and the Norwegian Ole Floene (KTM Duust).
The next round of the FIM Bajas World Cup is the Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura that takes place in Spain from April 14-16.
2023 Qatar International Baja - positions after stage 3 :
FIM – Bikes
1. Konrad Dabrowski (POL) KTM 450 Rally 7hr 22min 09.3sec
2. Robert Wallace (GBR) KTM 450 RFR +38.04.8
3. Mirjam Pol (NLD) KTM +1.21.08.8
4. Andrew Houlihan (AUS) Husqvarna FR +188.8.131.52
5. Marwan Al-Rahmani (ARE) KTM 450 Rally +184.108.40.206
6. Jonathan Finn (CAN) Honda CRF 450 RL +220.127.116.11
7. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 Rally Replica +18.104.22.168
8. Cesare Zacchetti (ITA) KTM EXC 350F +1.44.00.2
9. Abdullah Al-Shatti (KWT) Husqvarna 450 Rally +22.214.171.124
10. Alex McInnes (GBR) Husqvarna FE450 +126.96.36.199
11. Ola Floene (NOR) KTM 450 Rally +188.8.131.52
12. Abdullah Lanjawi (ARE) Husqvarna FE450 +1.51.00.6
13. Mishal Al-Ghuneim (SAU) KTM 450 Rally +184.108.40.206
14. Simon Marcic (SVN) Husqvarna 450 Rally Replica +220.127.116.11
15. Oran O’Kelly (IRL) KTM 450 Rally +2.09.59.9
16. Ehab Al-Hakeem (LBN) Yamaha WR 450F +18.104.22.168
FIM – Quads
1. Arnoud Dom (BEL) Suzuki LTR 450 10hr 46min 34.8sec
2. Mansoor Al-Suwaidi (ARE) Yamaha YFZ 450R +5.54.9
3. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 +5:22:03.6