Nasser Al-Attiyah’s WRC 2 victory at Coates Hire Rally Australia has made the Qatari driver favourite to lift the 2014 championship.
Understanding the positions in the series, in which drivers count their six best scores from seven rounds, has become somewhat clearer following the action Down Under.
The Ford Fiesta RRC driver is fourth, nine points behind leader Lorenzo Bertelli. However, he is the best-placed of the drivers still in realistic contention, with two rounds still to tackle.
Karl Kruuda, absent in Australia, also has two rallies remaining but the Estonian is 11 points behind Al-Attiyah.
Victory in Australia was crucial for Al-Attiyah and after a rallylong duel with Yazeed Al Rajhi, he claimed the top step of the podium when Al Rajhi retired after a branch pierced his Fiesta RRC’s radiator.
“It was my first time in Australia and during the recce it looked to be a difficult rally. But we started well and found good pace. Really we were careful not to do any mistakes because if we stopped in this race it would be game over in the championship,” he said.
Al-Attiyah’s final two rounds are in Spain and Britain, both events he knows well.
“We have good experience in Spain, we have been there two or three times, and I love the GB rally. We must be clever in Spain and finish in the top three. This will help our work in the championship,” he said.
This is how the championship looks for the main contenders:
|Position||Driver||Points||Rallies completed||Rallies remaining|
|2.||Yuriy Protasov||90||7||Programme completed|
|4||Nasser Al-Attiyah||85||5||Spain and Britain|
|5||Ott Tanak||78||7||Programme completed|
|6||Karl Kruuda||74||5||Spain and Britain|