Nasser wins record 15th MERC driver’s title
Victory in Cyprus Rally pushes Qatari driver to the top with the most number of Middle East Rally Championship wins.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah clinched his 15th Middle East Rally Championship when he notched up a commanding win in the Cyprus Rally on Sunday.
The title now makes him the driver with the most number of MERC crowns, ahead of UAE’s Mohammed bin Sulayem who had won 14.
The win was also Nasser’s sixth in Cyprus.
- Nasser Al Attiyah (Qatar) / Matthieu Baumel (France) 03:02:51.3
- Galatariotis S. (Cyprus) / Ioannou Antonis (Cyprus) 03:05:28.8
- Ingram Chris (Great Britain) / Whittock Ross (Great Britain) 03:06:42.2
- Hirvonen Mikko (Finland) / Ottman Jarno (Finland) 03:07:25.3
- Habaj Tukasz (Poland) / Dymurski Daniel (Poland) 03:08:34.7
After the setback of last year, when he led till the final stage before being forced to finish fourth due to a puncture, the Qatari driver was cautious but fortunately there was no repeat of that this time.
“I’m really happy to win here, this is one of our favourite rallies,” said Nasser. “The stages were fantastic and the mountains attracted a lot of spectators,” he said.
About the surface which was a mix of gravel and asphalt Nasser said it was not really a challenge. “I am used to driving on such surfaces and I felt very comfortable.”
Some tricky turns and challenging surfaces were what lay ahead for Nasser and his co-driver Matthieu Baumel of France. The 21.57 km penultimate stage in Kourdali and the 20.17 km stage in Kapouras were difficult. The duo did not push too hard knowing that they had a comfortable lead of 2:48.3 seconds. And it was a good decision as their tyres had worn out after Kourdali. Kapouras too was a rough one for the Qatari and the Frenchman.
“The stage was really good, but there were many rocks. So, we took it easy,” said Nasser.
Nasser next moves to Morocco for the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies which takes place from October 3 to 9.