Mark Ackerman FIM Dubai International Baja Victory 1200

Photo Credit: RallyZone - Edoardo Bauer

Dubai based South African Mark Ackerman was this week celebrating the biggest win of his racing career after taking victory in the Dubai International Baja, the opening round of the 2017 FIM Bajas World Cup.

Ackerman, riding a Husqvarna FX 450 prepared by local Husqvarna dealer SRG Motorsports, was emphatic with the victory. 

“It’s definitely the biggest win of my career and I guess all the hard work, and having fun, has really paid off!” he said.

Ackerman, a regular podium winner in the Emirates Desert Championship, had to push hard on the second day of the two day rally to overcome an early deficit to Frenchman Benjamin Melot of the KTM UAE team. Melot was forced to settle for second place overall at the end of the event, having been edged out by Ackerman and a difference of just 29 seconds after over 340km of racing. Mohammed Al Balooshi finished the event in third place overall.

 

Sam Sunderland FIM Baja rally dubai

Photo Credit:RallyZone - Edoardo Bauer
 

2017 Dakar Rally winner Sam Sunderland, and Dubai resident, had a weekend to forget as he was forced to retire after only 17km of stage one due to a mechanical problem. Sunderland chose not to restart the next day so as to not risk injury ahead of the upcoming FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship events in Abu Dhabi and Qatar.

Elsewhere, young Kuwaiti rider Fahad Al Musallam finished an impressive tenth overall to win the FIM Quad Bajas Category, beating out Emirati rival Humaid Al Mashghouni by a margin of about 18 minutes, with Italian Camelia Liparoti in third place.

In the parallel car event counting towards the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, Nasser Al Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel took a comfortable victory in their Toyota Hilux from Sh. Khalid Al Qassimi and Khalid Al Kendi in second place in a Peugeot DKR 2008, with Mohammed Abu Issa and Xavier Panseri in third in a MINI All4 Racing.

 

Benjamin Melot fim baja rally dubai 1200

Photo Credit:RallyZone - Edoardo Bauer
 

The Dubai International Baja was held over two days in the desert of Al Qudra, and based from the Bab Al Shams Resort in Dubai. 

It was organised by the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), under the jurisdiction of the UAE Motorcycle Club (UAEMC), the vastly experienced organisers of the famous Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which is taking place during the first week of April as the opening round of the 2017 FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship.

The 2017 FIM Bajas World Cup will take place over four rounds, with events in Spain, Hungary and Portugal following the season opener in Dubai.

 

Ackerman FIM baja rally dubai 1200

Photo Credit:RallyZone - Edoardo Bauer

 

Words: Stuart Murray

 

PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS 

1. 5 ACKERMAN M. 4:15:50.0  

2. 9 MELOT B. 4:16:19.0  

3. 3 AL BALOOSHI M. 4:23:19.0  

4. 7 RUOSO A. 4:31:03.0  

5. 8 MESHARI M. 4:35:52.0  

6. 2 MCBRIDE D. 4:36:59.0  

7. 11 TRENKER T. 4:46:36.0  

8. 6 O'CONNOR S. 4:49:48.0  

9. 203 AL MUSALLAM F. 4:52:53.0  

10. 21 KHAMIS OZAIR K. 4:52:56.0  

 

PROVISIONAL FIM 450CC OVERALL STANDINGS 

1. 5 ACKERMAN M. 4:15:50.0  

2. 3 AL BALOOSHI M. 4:23:19.0

3. 7 RUOSO A. 4:31:03.0  

4. 8 JAFFAR M. 4:35:52.0  

5. 2 MCBRIDE D. 4:36:59.0  

6. 11 TRENKER T. 4:46:36.0  

7. 6 O'CONNOR S. 4:49:48.0  

8. 21 KHAMIS OZAIR K. 4:52:56.0  

9. 10 LUCCHESE M. 5:00:29.0  

10. 22 DUNN C. 5:09:09.0  

 

FIM QUAD PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS 

1. 203 AL MUSALLAM F. 4:52:53.0  

2. 202 ALMASHGHOUNI H. 5:10:58.0  

3. 201 LIPAROTI C. 5:56:10.0  

4. 206 BAIZHIYENOV T. 6:53:25.0  

5. 207 SOLOKHA K. 6:59:35.0