WRC 2 champion Nasser Al-Attiyah will return next season to try to win the title for a third consecutive year.
Third place at Spain’s RallyRACC Catalunya - Costa Daurada on Sunday was sufficient to defend his 2014 crown with one round remaining, and the Qatari immediately pledged to return in search of a hat-trick.
“Of course. We will stay with the Skoda Fabia R5 next year. We are happy because the car is good,” Al-Attiyah told wrc.com, adding that Mexico and Argentina would feature in his programme.
Winning the WRC 2 championship ended a remarkable three weeks in which he netted three FIA titles. He previously won a second Cross-Country Rally World Cup in Morocco and a remarkable 11th Middle East Rally Championship in Jordan to add to January’s Dakar Rally win.
“I’m so happy to have four titles in one year, it’s a crazy thing. It’s been a fantastic year for us and we can’t do any more,” he said.
Al-Attiyah was so focused on the fortunes of main rival Esapekka Lappi in Spain that he forgot about outsider Pontus Tidemand, a team-mate of the Finn. Tidemand led for virtually the entire rally and Al-Attiyah had to finish no lower than third to stop the Swede going to the final round in Britain with a title chance.
He did just that – but only by a tenth of a second after the final stage was cancelled.
“When we saw Lappi crashing, I couldn’t really concentrate. I was thinking about the world championship and then I forgot the other driver (Tidemand). He was leading and could win the championship!” said Al-Attiyah.
Al-Attiyah turns his attentions next week to shooting. The 2012 Olympic men’s skeet bronze medallist will compete in the Asian Championships as preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil.