The UAE’s Mohammed Balooshi was denied the chance to compete in Friday’s stage but still made history, finishing eighth overall in the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship.
His result is the highest achieved by an Emirati with Balooshi beating his own 12th place finish in last year’s event. After suffering a rib injury during a crash in the penultimate stage of the OiLibya Rally in Morocco, doctors refused to give Balooshi the green light.
He could only watch as the action unfolded but results went his way and he secured a top-10 finish to cap a remarkable season.
“It’s really too bad to have to retire like this after so much work done by all my team this year,” he said.
“I still can’t believe we made it to the final round of the championship with so much effort and we have achieved so much.
“But then it’s always disappointing not to be allowed to race, especially because I feel strong and really wanted to complete the rally.
“Yes, I have a bit of pain from the cracked rib, but it’s the heart that hurts more for not being able to bring my flag to the finish line.”
Mahir Badri, Sports2 managing director, added: “We couldn’t be prouder of Mohammed and of the work done this year.
“He is one of our country’s very talented athletes and he puts his soul on what we do, same as the rest of the team.”