Maurin halves Qatari's WRC 2 lead
Frenchman puts asphalt expertise to good use in Spain
The Qatari scored his fourth win of the season in a Ford Fiesta RRC after holding off a determined challenge from French asphalt expert Julien Maurin during the last two days of sealed-surface speed tests.
Al-Attiyah built a two-minute lead during a punishing gravel opening leg which sidelined many contenders. Maurin reeled off a string of stage wins in his Fiesta R5 once the rally switched to asphalt but Al-Attiyah controlled his pace to win by 35.0sec.
The destiny of the title will be decided in next month’s final round at Wales Rally GB (13 - 16 November) with Al-Attiyah taking a 20-point lead over Jari Ketomaa into the gravel event.
Robert Barrable finished third in a Fiesta R5, 4min 32.5sec behind Al-Attiyah, with Benito Guerra fourth and winner of the Production Cup class within WRC 2 in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.
Long-standing series leader Lorenzo Bertelli, Bernardo Sousa, who rolled in the opening leg, and Karl Kruuda, who finished seventh after also rolling, were all ruled out of title contention.
Juan Carlos Alonso’s early retirement means Max Rendina is the Production Cup champion.