Following his exclusion from victory on the opening round of the season in Mexico for fuel cell ventilation irregularities on his Ford Fiesta S2000, the Qatar driver was hoping to get his SWRC title tilt back on track in Jordan this week.
Up until the opening stage of day two, everything had been looking good for the multiple FIA Middle East Rally Champion, until the start of the Yakrut stage.
Al-Attiyah had dominated the opening day of the event, building a two-minute lead over his nearest rival. He lost all of that when his Fiesta developed an engine problem off the start line on the first Saturday test.
“It’s very tough,” said Al-Attiyah. “We really wanted the win here, especially after what happened in Mexico, the team needed this lift from the win. But it didn’t happen. I felt the engine start to lose some power on the start line of the stage, then it stopped. It’s a problem with a valve in the engine.”
Al-Attiyah’s attentions now turn to Rally d’Italia next month, where a result is even more important for his championship aspirations.
“We will never give up,” he said. “Now we go to Sardinia and we have win there. We have to win all of our rallies now, if we are to have a chance for the championship. At the start of the year, we talked about wanting to win the first four rounds, the events which we felt would suit us more, but now we need to win everything.
"This result is hard to take, but this can be the motorsport some times. We have to accept it, we’ve had a hard two rallies, but now we’re looking for the maximum from now until the end of the year.”