Nasser targets Cross Country Rally title
The Qatari driver will face a strong challenge in the Rally of Morocco as he chases his fifth crown.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah has just stamped his supremacy in the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) with a 15th driver’s title after his win in the Cyprus Rally last Sunday. Four days later he is looking to wrest another title – the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in Morocco.
The Rally of Morocco gets underway on Friday with Nasser and France’s Stephane Peterhansel vying for the title in a demanding five-day desert showdown which marks the season finale. Nasser (60 points) is nine points ahead of Peterhansel. A victory in Morocco would give him the FIA World Cup title for the fifth time since his maiden success in 2008. This season, Nasser has wins in Qatar and Kazakhstan, but did not take part in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
Nasser’s five successive wins in Morocco and his confidence-boosting win in Cyrpus should send out a note of caution to Peterhansel and the rest of the field.
- Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah (QAT) 60pts
- Stephane Peterhansel (FRA) 51pts
- Reinaldo Varela (BRA) 35pts
- Yazeed Al Rajhi (SAU) 27pts
- Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) 24pts
- Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE) 21pts
- Casey Currie (USA) 17pts
“Morocco is one of my favourite rallies and it’s even more important this time. This rally will decide the FIA World Cup and a season of work, while we also carry out a big desert test with the cars for the Dakar Rally,” said the Qatari driver.
Nasser and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel will be part of the joint team of Overdrive Racing and Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa. Apart from Nasser, the team will also field two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso who will have fellow-Spaniard Marc Coma as his co-driver. Alonso is making his debut in an FIA event after recent testing in Poland, South Africa and Qatar.
Other drivers joining Nasser and Alonso on the team are former Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers and Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke. De Villiers is a three-time winner of the Rally of Morocco and is teaming up with Spaniard Alex Haro this year while Brinke will team up with Belgian Tom Colsoul, the defending FIA World Cup champion co-driver.