Privateer Oman success for Nasser Al-Attiyah. Leading Middle East rally driver Nasser Al-Attiyah has stepped up his bid to try and win the 2003 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, winning the Oman International Rally as a privateer in order to...
Privateer Oman success for Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Leading Middle East rally driver Nasser Al-Attiyah has stepped up his bid to try and win the 2003 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, winning the Oman International Rally as a privateer in order to better his chances of winning the coveted championship that he currently leads.
Al-Attiyah made the decision to contest the non championship rally as a private entrant in order to prepare for the tight and twisty stages of the Troodos Rally in Cyprus, penultimate round of the prestigious FIA Middle East series. The well organised two day Oman event saw Al-Attiyah contesting the rally in an Autotek Motorsport run Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII, supplied by Ralliart Germany.
The rapid Qatari, with Englishman Steve Lancaster on the notes, was highly impressed with the rally in Muscat. The stages on the event were twisty and more technical than the usual desert stages found within the championship.
With the next round of the series in Cyprus being the toughest round in terms of terrain and technical driving, Al-Attiyah was keen to leave nothing to chance in his preparations for the event, funding his participation in the Oman International Rally from his own finances.
Al-Attiyah was easily leading Group N on the rally, before a penultimate stage slice of fortune befell the talented 32 year old. Hamad Al Waihaibi had been leading the rally from Nasser, but an engine problem halted the local Oman driver close to the end.
Al-Attiyah and Lancaster therefore took an accomplished overall victory, convincingly winning Group N in the process. More importantly for Nasser, they had the maximum amount of time in the car:
"There was a long gap between the Syrian round of the FIA Middle East series and the next event, Troodos. As a result I was keen to get as many stage miles in as possible for the Troodos Rally. Its a very tough rally both physically and mechanically for the car. The stages are similar to those used on the World Rally Championship round, very twisty, technical and a mixture of slow and medium speed corners.
The Oman International Rally had some very technical driving sections so it was very important to contest the rally for that reason. I was delighted to be able to contest the event with Autotek Motorsport who have done a great job with the Qatar Rally Team this season. I didn't have any sponsors for the event but it was very important to go and get the experience. I'm doing everything I can to give me an advantage for the rest of the FIA Middle East Series."