Tuesday | 28 Apr 2015

Middle East skills aid Al-Kuwari

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari believes his experience of rough road rallies in his native Middle East helped him win WRC 2 at XION Rally Argentina last weekend.

Al-Kuwari judged his pace perfectly over incredibly rocky gravel tracks to score his second WRC 2 win in Argentina in three years. He climbed to second in the championship standings and seventh overall was a career-best finish in the WRC.

The Qatari has vast experience of rough conditions after competing in the FIA Middle East Championship for many years and said his strategy worked perfectly.

“We’re used to tough rallies. In Qatar it’s really tough, rougher then Argentina, so it’s good experience for a rally like this. I wish all the championship was like this. I like rallies where you have to plan and use a good strategy,” he told wrc.com.

“It was one of the roughest and most difficult rallies I’ve done in my life. From the recce we knew it would be bad and tough for the car, driver and co-driver.

“Some corners were changing due to the ruts created by the faster cars but we learned to be clever and took it steadily.

Al-Kuwari did not win a stage as Yurii Protasov (below) topped the timesheets on all but one test. However, the Ukrainian received a 15-minute penalty in the opening leg after driving a short distance on the public road with only three wheels as he battled to repair damaged suspension.

“I drove well at the beginning until Protasov received the penalty. On Saturday and Sunday I was like a taxi driver. I backed off a lot and reduced my speed. You have to be clever. He won maybe 90 per cent of the stages but didn’t win the rally. I don’t want fastest times, I want to win the rally,” added the Ford Fiesta RRC pilot.

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