"Al-Attiyah reigns supreme in Jordan!" Continuing in his quest to win the FIA Middle East Rally Championship whilst promoting the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar Rally Team driver Nasser Al-Attiyah scorched to a crushing victory on the ...
"Al-Attiyah reigns supreme in Jordan!"
Continuing in his quest to win the FIA Middle East Rally Championship whilst promoting the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar Rally Team driver Nasser Al-Attiyah scorched to a crushing victory on the Jordan International Rally, leaving his rivals trailing in the heat as he won by the exceptional margin of 10 minutes, 27 seconds.
Driving the Qatar National Bank and Al Jazeera Satellite TV backed Subaru Impreza WRC02, Al-Attiyah and English co-driver Steve Lancaster (Selby, Yorks.) battled back from a puncture on the third stage of the Amman based rally to lead works Peugeot driver Abdullah Bakhashab before the Grifone run driver retired with mechanical failure. Such was Nasser's pace on the rally, he had already built over a sixty three second lead over Bakhashab before his retirement with mechanical problems.
On stages running close to the Dead Sea and on mountain tracks, Al-Attiyah was in total command of the Autotek Motorsport tendered machine. Nasser's pace was impressive. The man from Doha took thirty seconds off his rivals alone on the fourth stage of the event, ending the second leg with a near six minute lead over the rest of the field.
The final day was completed at around 60% rally speed, with Nasser having a minor scare when the Subaru developed a minor problem with the electric paddle shift gear change, forcing him to use the manual gear shifter instead. Despite that, the Subaru and its Pirelli tyres worked superbly in the searing dry heat of the desert to allow talented sportsman Al-Attiyah to take a brilliant victory on the rally, and in doing so, also re-taking the lead in the FIA Middle East series. Nasser was delighted to win such an important and prestigious rally:
"This is a perfect result" said Nasser. "The whole team worked extremely hard to make sure we had a good chance of winning on this rally. We knew the challenge from Peugeot would be very, very strong, but we prepared well, and we were always right on the pace. I was very pleased to be leading Abdullah (Bakhashab) until his unfortunate retirement, as it was a good battle between ourselves. In the end we just had to make sure the car got to the finish, and the winning margin was clear proof that we had driven a very strong rally. It was very important to get a strong result on this rally."
Co-driver Steve Lancaster was equally delighted with the win, and was quick to point out that the team must not be complacent ahead of the next event in Syria:
"Nasser was just awesome in Jordan" commented the experienced co-driver. "However we have to look at the championship now, and we are just three points ahead of the Group N driver Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi. He has been very consistent this year, so it is vitally important that we keep finishing the rallies well up the order and ahead of the other challengers. Fortunately Nasser is on the very best form when it comes to desert or gravel stages, so the future events will be just as exciting I'm sure. I hope we can continue to extend our championship lead from this point onwards."
The star of the Qatar Rally Team is also a talented all rounder. Aside from being a front runner in the Middle East rallying scene, Nasser is also a world class skeet shooter. Ranked number one in Asia, the Doha man is gladly helping to promote the 2006 Asian Games that are being held in his home city. With two gold medals already to his name from past Asian Games, Nasser will be keen to make it third time lucky in 2006 on home soil.