The ŠKODA FABIA R5 first competed in the Lebanese championship in the last round of the 2016 championship, when Roger’s brother Abdo Feghali drove it to second place at the Rally Lebanon. He opted to drive the car this season and after failing to finish the opening round of the season, the Spring Rally, which Roger won, Abdo took an impressive victory at the Jezzine Rally in the second round of the championship. He finished 1 minute and 8 seconds ahead of his brother in second place at that event.
Clearly, Roger saw something special in the FABIA R5 from his brother’s performance as he too then chose to drive one for the final two rallies of the season.
His debut in a FABIA R5 came at the Cedar's Rally, which turned out to be a fascinating duel between the two FABIA R5-driving brothers. Abdo won the opening and closing special stages of the rally with Roger winning the seven in between, but Abdo was never far behind and as they crossed the finish line of the final stage, there were just 15 seconds between them. But then as they drove to the service area at the end of the rally, Abdo’s car was engulfed in flames and while both he and co-driver Marc Haddad escaped unscathed, they were forced to retire.
Roger Feghali at Lebanese Rally Championship 2017
As a result, Roger’s official victory margin was 3 minutes and 58 seconds, but that did not tell the whole story of a pulsating rally. But it nonetheless left Roger on top of the championship standings going into the final event of the season, the Rally of Lebanon.
Again, his brother Abdo was his closest rival, but after a hand injury forced him to retire, the event turned into a procession for Roger. In the end, he won by a huge margin of six minutes from another FABIA R5 driver Gilbert Bannout, who was himself more than four minutes ahead of the next car down the road.
The Lebanese championship also allows points scored in hill-climbing events to count towards the championship standings. Roger didn’t compete in any of those events, but this emphatic victory - added to two previously - and a runner’s up spot, ensured Roger Feghali won the Lebanese Rally Championship for a record-breaking thirteenth time.
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Roger Feghali (born 1973) has been rallying since 1996. He won his first Lebanese title the following year which started a run of four successive titles between 1997 and 2000. He improved on that winning six in a row between 2007 and 2012 and now has a record-breaking 13 titles to his name as he dominated the sport in his homeland for the past two decades. This season saw him make his debut drive in a ŠKODA winning both rallies driven in his FABIA R5 on the way to his latest title triumph.
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