Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1282, (11- 17 February 2016)
Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Issue 1282, (11- 17 February 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Al-Attiyah reignites 

Nasser Al-Attiyah rebounded at home by winning the first round of the 2016 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, adding a new record to his career check note, Mohamed Abdel-Razek reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Even before the engines had fully warmed up, Nasser Al-Attiyah with his co-pilot Mathieu Baumel decided to start their season flat-out by winning the 34th edition of the 2016 Qatar International Rally.

On their new rabbit, the Fabia R5, Al-Attiyah rebounded from a loss in Dakar last month and at the same time managed to break the record of 60 wins set by the Emirati Mohamed Bin Selem by scoring his 61 Middle East Rally Championship win and capturing his 13th Qatar International Rally, a tournament which he has been dominating for the past four years.

In this year’s edition, held from 4-6 February, 12 racers from Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Europe were involved in the 535.24km rally, going through 241.71km of special stages and 295.80 link stages.

Al-Attiyah held the lead from the first stage, 25 seconds ahead of his nearest chaser, the Qatari Khalid Al-Suwaidi.

Al-Attiyah was at the top of the second day’s stages except that of Umm Wishah, Al-Suwaidi’s only victory.

Al-Attiyah and his co-driver Matthiew Baumel at The Skoda R5 finished the stages in 1 hour and 30/100 seconds. Al-Suwaidi and his co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini of Italy at Ford R5 came in second. Another Qatari, Abdullah Al-Kuwari, took third in 1 hour 9 minutes, 48/100 seconds, followed by Rashid Al-Naimi at 1 hour 11 minutes, 43/100 seconds. Hussain Salem of Jordan and his co-driver Nancy came fifth in 1 hour 13 minutes, 20/100 seconds, while sixth position went to Stefano Marrini of Italy, 1 hour 25 minutes 45/100 seconds.

The withdrawal of the Qataris Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and Khalifa Al-Attiyah was a key incident after a technical failure in the engine of their car. The Turks were also forced to withdraw while Kim Koivo of Sweden announced he could not complete the remaining stages.

On the third and final day of the rally the competition was limited to Al-Attiyah after the many withdrawals on the second day. Five drivers had announced they were pulling out for various technical reasons. At the beginning of the second half of the third day, Al-Attiyah was still at the top, followed by Al-Suwaidi, Al-Naimi, Abdullah Al-Kuwari, Rodolphe of Lebanon in fifth with his co-driver Joseph, and Stefano of Italy with his co-driver Roberto in the sixth and last position.

Al-Attiyah expressed his happiness after winning the rally, hoping to continue at the same pace for the upcoming six rounds of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

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