Al Attiyah prevails in Kuwait Rally

The UAE’s Shaikh Khalid Al Qasimi believes the battle for the FIA Middle East Rally Championship is far from over after Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah won the Kuwait International Rally on Saturday to extend his lead in the 2013 regional series, according to a Press release.

Producing an immaculate performance in his Ford Fiesta RRC, Al Attiyah finished the second round of the championship with a winning margin of 1min 13.9secs from Al Qasimi in his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team DS3 RRC.

Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al Kuwari and Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al Rajhi, who scored WRC2 victories in the last two rounds of the World Rally Championship, took their Ford Fiesta RRCs to third and fourth places on a day which brought no changes to the leading positions overnight.

After finishing strongly by winning the last two special stages, Al Qasimi now aims to benefit from lessons learnt in Kuwait and to revive his bid for a second Middle East drivers crown when Jordan hosts the third round of the championship in May.

“I’m disappointed with the result, but at least we were moving in the right direction at the end,” said Al Qasimi, on reaching the finish alongside British co-driver Scott Martin.

“We didn’t have enough traction on the first leg and today the suspension was too soft. The car still needs work and there wasn’t enough time to make a difference today, but there’s a long way to go in the championship yet.”

Making his first appearance in Kuwait and competing in only his second ever rally, Mohammed Al Sahlawi edged out Abu Dhabi Racing team-mate Mohammed Al Mutawaa to win the new two-wheel drive class which has been introduced into the championship this season.

Partnered by Irish co-driver Allan Harryman in a Citroën DS3 R3 2WD, Al Sahlawi finished a highly commendable 12th overall, one place ahead of Al Mutawaa, as the two young Emirati drivers gained valuable experience.

Said Al Sahlawi: “I wanted to push harder today as I;m getting used to the car, but with the other cars kicking up sand it was very difficult to see, so I was just happy to make it to the finish ramp.”

Provisional results

1. Nasser Al Attiyah/Giovanni Bernacchini (Qat/Ita) Ford fiesta 2:10:25.3

2. Khalid Al Qasimi/Scott Martin (UAE/GBR) Abu Dhabi Citroën DS3 RRC 2:11:39.2

3. Abdulaziz Al Kuwari/Killian Duffy (Qat/Irl) Ford Fiesta 2:14:50.1

4. Yazeed Al Rajhi/Michael Orr (KSA/GBR) Ford Fiesta 2:16:05.0

5. Abdullah Al. Qassimi/Steve Lancaster (UAE/GBR) Ford Fiesta 2:16:44.1

6. Seed Al Mouri/Amr Refai (KSA/KSA) Mini Cooper 2:17:44.0

7. Msuod Al Saleh/Sulaiman Al Helal (Kwt/Kwt) Ford Fiesta 2:24:13.4

8. Mshari Al Thefiri/Mobarak Al Thefiri (Kwt/Kwt) Mitsubishi Evo 9 2:32:51.0

9. Mishal Al Nejadi/Ali Al Shamali (Kwt/Kwt) Mitsubishi Evo 9 2:35:04.3

10. Zaid Dahshan/Ramzi Mansour (Jor/Jor) Mitsubishi Evo 10 2:35:55.8

Leading Positionsafter two rounds

1. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT) 50pts

2. Khalid Al Qassimi (UAE) 36pts

3. Abdulaziz Al Kuwari (QAT) 30pts

4. Adullah Al Qasimi (UAE) 20pts

4. Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) 20pts

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