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Victories for Nasser Al-Attiyah and Tosha Scharina in Portugal’s consecration in the world off-road race

Nasser Al-Attiyah (cars) and Tosha Schareina (motorcycles) were the brilliant winners of the debut edition of the bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal.

Another successful organization by the Automóvel Club de Portugal (W2RC), with the third race on the Portugal Rally-Raid World Championship calendar confirming the talent of the Portuguese drivers: in cars, João Ferreira finished in brilliant 2nd place overall; João Monteiro won among the SSV; Armindo Araújo and Ricardo Porém finished in the last places on the podium in the Challenger category; while, on motorcycles, Bruno Santos triumphed in the Rally2 category and climbed to the final spot on the overall podium; and Gonçalo Amaral won among Rally3.

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Nasser Al-Attiyah < bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal

Portugal had the honour of hosting the only European race on the World Rally-Raid Championship calendar and what a debut: a list of entries with many of the “stars” of the Dakar; very public; and a race full of emotion and excitement in the different categories.

Another large and prestigious sporting event organized by the Automóvel Club de Portugal which, for practically a week, communicated the country and, in particular, the regions of Alentejo, Ribatejo and Spanish Extremadura, but which also contributed with a significant economic impact.

Nasser Al-Attiyah wins in cars

The winner, in cars, of the bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal has a unique personality. Aged 53 and a confessed lover of Portugal, the Qatari prince is an Olympic medalist in shooting and one of the most successful off-road drivers, with a handful of victories in Dakar. Upon arrival in Grândola, after five days of competition and around 1,000 kilometres run against the clock, the Prodrive driver stated: “Portugal is almost my second home. I have many friends here and I am really happy to win this fantastic race! Thank you to all the fans and thanks to the organization. It was a very technical race and we had to be smart. After the victory in Abu Dhabi, winning here is very important because it allows us to move to the front of the World Cup.”

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João Ferreira < bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal

More than a promise, João Ferreira is already one of the greatest talents in the world in the sport. The way he fought with Nasser Al-Attiyah and how he imposed himself on his Mini teammate, the legendary Carlos Sainz, is very revealing of his talent. “It’s difficult to explain the emotions I experienced throughout this week. We received incredible support from this unique audience in the world, in a very varied and beautiful event. The tension was high because there was a lot of attention around us, but everything went very well and I confess that I didn’t imagine finishing in second place, on my debut with this car in W2RC.”

Brazilian Lucas Moraes (Toyota) was the winner of the final stage, a result that allowed him to climb to the last place on the podium, in exchange with Carlos Sainz. “What a great fight! Firstly, congratulations to the entire organization for managing to put together this race. It is very important to have the World Cup in Europe. An overall podium and victory in this stage are important points for the championship.”

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Lucas Moraes < bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal

Carlos Sainz (Mini), two-time world rally champion and four-time Dakar winner, was fourth. The Spaniard, who was never in the fight for victory, admitted: “It was a difficult rally, but positive. It is always a pleasure to come to Portugal, I was pleased to participate and gain an important experience. I would like the race to start tomorrow, to try some things, but I’m happy.”

After losing time in the initial phase, Saudi Arabian Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Toyota) managed to recover to fifth place. “Despite the bad luck we had, we did a good job and had a lot of fun. Thank you to the audience, which was exceptional, and thank you to the organization for creating this great event!”

Lithuanian Rokas Baciuska (Can-Am) was sixth and first in the Challenger category, while Brazilian Cristian Baumgart Stroczynski (Toyota), Francisco Barreto (Toyota), Armindo Araújo (second among Challengers) and Argentine Nicolás Cavigliasso finished the top10.

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Tosha Scharina < bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal

Spanish victory on motorcycles, with Portuguese shining

Born in Valencia, aged 27, Tosha Schareina started racing motorbikes as a child, influenced by her uncle who raced in motocross. With a career on the rise, the official Honda driver won, in the bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal, the second victory of his career in a “World Cup” event, after an immaculate performance in the approximately 1,000 kilometres of the route contested against the clock. “It’s very special to win here, after a great race. I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved over these five stages and I’m also happy for the team, as most of them are from Portugal.”

Resident in the municipality of Odemira since he was three years old, German Sebastian Bühler (Hero) was Tosha Schareina’s main opponent, finishing 4m38s behind the Spaniard. “Second place in a World Cup race is very good. After a crash in Dakar, I think this result is the best way to gain confidence. It was a tough week. I had a four-minute penalty on the first day and, without that, he could be even closer to fighting for victory. Tosha was very strong, as always, congratulations to him. I think the organization did a very good job, managing to hold the race even after the rain in the last few days.”

With drivers in the top two positions, the fight for the constructors’ title between Honda and Hero is on.

At 36 years old, Bruno Santos (Huskvarna) was one of the Portuguese heroes in the bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal. Twenty-four years after having his first motorcycle, the driver from Torres Vedras accomplished the feat of winning for the first time in the Rally2 category and climbing to the last place on the podium in the general classification of a World Rally-Raid Championship event. “It was a spectacular race, which exceeded all my expectations. Every day was a different challenge and of course, I am very, very satisfied with the result.”

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Sebastian Bühler < bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal

With a victory in the penultimate stage, António Maio (Yamaha) achieved a brilliant fourth place overall, with the GNR soldier stating: “It was a spectacular race, in which we covered all types of terrain, but where I tried not to make mistakes. Yesterday’s stage in Spain was fabulous, very much in my style and it was where I achieved a historic victory. I’m happy with this fourth place overall and the podium in RallyGP.”

Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) was the winner of the final stage and fifth overall, highlighting: “I love Portugal, not just to compete. This race was fantastic, with varied terrain and lots of people. For me, the beginning was very tough, with a big penalty that slowed me down a lot. But in these last stages, I always recovered and had a lot of fun. It’s very important that we have this World Cup race in Europe.”

Skyler Howes (Honda), Ross Branch (Hero), Edgar Canet Ardevol (KTM), Bradley Cox (KTM) and Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) rounded out the top 10.

The Portuguese Gonçalo Amaral (Honda) was the brilliant winner of the Rally3 category, confessing “to be very happy with the victory.”

The Pole, Kamil Wisniewski, won among the quads, with a margin of 5m49s over the Lithuanian Antanas Kanopkinas.

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Tosha Scharina < bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal

The balance of the race by Carlos Barbosa, president of the Automóvel Club de Portugal

The president of the ACP – Automóvel Club de Portugal, Carlos Barbosa, gives an “extremely positive” assessment of the bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal 2024, a race that he considers “fundamental in the World Championship, due to the competitive value it adds to the usual ups and downs of dunes” and for the opportunity to “allow European drivers to race at home”; also highlights the “organizational capacity of the ACP Motorsport team”, capable of putting on a race “very complex due to the weather conditions, which could return to Portugal as soon as A.S.O.’s interest and the balance of the accounts are confirmed”; Carlos Barbosa also highlights the “involvement and security demonstrated by Portuguese fans throughout the stages, as well as the praise expressed by the Dakar ‘stars’, who were radiant”.

Between the 1st and 6th of June, the Desafío Ruta 40 is the next event of the World Rally-Raid Championship. With the DNA of the Dakar editions held in South America, it is covered in stunning natural landscapes and on a huge variety of terrain, from rally tracks, dry rivers, and dunes, to salt marshes. The late Paulo Gonçalves inscribed his name in the winners’ gallery, with a brilliant triumph, on motorcycles, in the 2018 edition.

For more information, visit the official bp Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal website.

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