The London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist took part on eight rounds of this year’s WRC with the Citroen-supported Qatar World Rally Team on his step up to the world championship’s big league having been a regular in the support categories since 2004.
With his testing commitments for next year’s Dakar Rally cross-country event taking hold, Al-Attiyah will now hand the keys of his Citroen DS3 WRC to Belgian Thierry Neuville for this week’s Rally Italia Sardegna. Dutchman Hans Weijs will then take over the seat for the season-closing RallyRACC-Rally de Espana in November.
“I am very pleased that Thierry will be driving the Qatar World Rally Team’s car in Sardinia. I am in the middle of preparations for the Dakar Rally and have to take part in a lot of testing, which means I cannot compete in the last two rounds of the championship,” said Al-Attiyah. “My WRC programme therefore ended in France and I would like to thank Citroen for having given me the opportunity to race with them this season. It was a truly incredible year for me. Above all, more than any particular result, what I’ll remember was the way the team welcomed me and the support I was given to help me to improve. What I have learned will be useful in the future, starting with the Dakar Rally.”
Al-Attiyah is currently 12th in the WRC drivers’ standings with 28 points. He scored a career-best of fourth on Vodafone Rally de Portugal earlier this season alongside Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini.