Monday | 24 Mar 2014

Al-Attiyah gears up for WRC return

As he prepares to make his WRC season debut at Rally de Portugal, Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah was in dominant form at the weekend, when he won the latest round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC).

The Fiesta RRC driver won the Kuwait International Rally on Saturday by 27.5sec from his WRC rival, Khalid Al-Qassimi.

The result moves defending champion Al-Attiyah 17 points clear in this year’s MERC title standings, and on course for a 10th crown.

Driving a Citroën DS3 RRC, Al-Qassimi was the class of the rest of the field, but he did not quite have the pace to match Al-Attiyah. Nevertheless, the Abu Dhabi driver finished 1min 44.8sec in front of WRC2 regular Yazeed Al-Rajhi in third.

“I was looking forward to the stages on the second day,” said Al-Attiyah. “They were not as fast and straight, more technical and twistier and more enjoyable to drive. Like last year, I felt that they would suit my car better. I was confident that I could extend my lead and win.”

Al-Qassimi was second in Kuwait

Both Al-Attiyah and Al-Qassimi will be in action in Portugal on Thursday next week when the World Rally Championship’s fourth round starts from Estoril.

All Attiyah is registered for the 2014 WRC2 championship, while Al-Qassimi will drive a DS3 World Rally Car for the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi team.

Video - 2013 Rally Portugal review