Middle East maestro to be crowned in Dubai. Qatar's leading rally driver Nasser Al-Attiyah will be crowned the 2003 FIA Middle East Rally Champion at next week's Dubai International Rally - and all the Doha man must do to claim the prestigious...
Middle East maestro to be crowned in Dubai.
Qatar's leading rally driver Nasser Al-Attiyah will be crowned the 2003 FIA Middle East Rally Champion at next week's Dubai International Rally - and all the Doha man must do to claim the prestigious prize is cross the start line.
After a dominant season in the Qatar National Bank supported Subaru Impreza WRC, Al-Attiyah's superb performances have been rewarded with a new car for the final and best known round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship. Nasser will become one of the first non factory drivers in the world to pilot a 2003 'S9' specification Subaru Impreza WRC.
Partnered by English co-driver Steve Lancaster, Al-Attiyah will be looking for a fitting send off to an excellent year within the Middle East series. The world class Qatari skeet shooter set his sights on claiming the crown this year with the Autotek Motorsport team, and duly obliged, with victories in Qatar, Jordan and Cyprus en route to Dubai. Al-Attiyah, who has been helping promote the 2006 Asian Games being held in Qatar as part of his efforts, has built an unassailable points lead going into the UAE based rally.
As the series reaches its final moments, Nasser is determined to reward his supporters, sponsors and team with another victory to complete his dominance of the championship this year. Excited at the prospect of driving the very latest cutting edge World Rally Car technology on the event, Nasser is looking forward to his last outing of the year:
"For the first time this season, the pressure is finally off us" said Nasser. "We only need to cross the start line to make it absolutely 100% certain that the championship belongs to the Qatar Rally Team - and of course, that is very important as it was our goal for the season. The recent Troodos Rally was very enjoyable and we were delighted to take the win there - it was probably the most difficult rally of the season in terms of a technical challenge. Everyone in the team worked hard to make sure we got to the end despite some minor problems, and I'm sure the team will look forward to celebrating the achievements of the season in Dubai next week.
This rally is also a major challenge in its own right, as we are back into the desert stages. I'm very confident of our chances on the event. I'm especially looking forward to debuting the S9 version of the Subaru for the first time in the Gulf region, as that is quite an honour for myself and the Qatar Rally Team. Steve and I are very relaxed about the rally and we shall be trying very hard to end the season in style with a victory, as we know that the Pirelli tyres work well in desert conditions. However we are not being complacent, as there are many local experts in the field, so Steve and myself will take nothing for granted. I'm sure it will be an excellent rally."
The two day event gets underway from the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai at 10am on Thursday December 4th. 14 loose gravel stages in the desert near the city will test the crews before they return to the hotel some 800 kilometres later for the finish of the event on Friday afternoon. The Dubai International Rally is the sixth and final round of the 2003 FIA Middle East Rally Championship.
Overall FIA Middle East Rally Championship drivers' positions after round
5 of 6:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA) 36
2. Andreas Tsouloftas (CY) 26
3. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi (UAE) 22
4. Roger Feghali (RL) 10
5. Abdo Feghali (RL) 8