Tag Archives: Nasser Al Attiyah


Al Qassimi is ready for a major battle for victory in his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team DS3.
Al Qassimi is ready for a major battle for victory in his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team DS3.


Abu Dhabi Racing star says second round line-up could be strongest in FIA Middle East Championship history 

Abu Dhabi, 19 March, 2013:  Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi believes this weekend’s  Kuwait International Rally could produce a classic battle for supremacy between the Arab world’s top drivers in what is arguably the strongest line-up in FIA Middle East Championship history.

The UAE star’s Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team DS3 is one of ten powerful Regional Rally Cars contesting the second round of this year’s regional series on Friday and Saturday.

And while reigning Middle East champion Nasser Al Attiyah and Al Qassimi are seen as the two most likely winners, the Emirati driver believes at least two other contenders, Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al Kuwari and Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al Rajhi, could mount serious challenges for victory.

“This could be the strongest ever Middle East rally,” said Al Qassimi. “We have 28 cars, one more than the WRC Rally of Mexico last week and there’s a lot of quality.

“Most people seem to be focusing on Nasser and myself, especially after we finished first and second in the first round in Qatar. I think there are four or five drivers who could win.

“Abdulaziz showed what he can do by winning the WRC2 title in Rally Mexico and Yazeed did the same in the previous round in Sweden. They are both fast and will be battling for every stage – they’ll be hard to drop.”

Partnered by Scott Martin in the Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team DS3, Al Qassimi says the size and depth of the Kuwait International Rally starting line-up augurs well for the future of the FIA Middle East series.

He also hopes the emergence of Abu Dhabi Racing as a new force in the championship will help to raise the profile of the series and attract more young Arab talent.

“What we’re doing in Abu Dhabi is creating a lot of interest and helping to raise standards in the championship,” he said. “We’ve started something and we’re hoping it will open the door for others to follow.”

Also part of the impressive Abu Dhabi Racing driver line-up in Kuwait are Mohammed Al-Sahlawi and Mohammed Al Mutawaa who contest the new 2WD category in a pair of Citroën DS3 R3s. Elsewhere, Bader Al Jabri competes in Group N in a Subaru N15.

FIA Middle East Rally Championship leading positions after Round 1:

1. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT)                 25pts

2. Khalid Al Qassimi (UAE)                18pts

3. Abdulaziz Al Kuwari (QAT)          15pts

4. Khalid Al Suwaidi (QAT)               12pts

5. Adullah Al Qassimi(UAE)               10pts

6. Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA)                   8pts     

7. Abdulla Al Kuwari (QAT)               6pts

8. Bader Al Jabri (UAE)                      4pts

Dubai Rally



Defending champion dominates first leg as punctures shatter Sheikh Khalid’s victory hopes

Dubai, UAE, 30th November 2012: Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah refuses to relax his grip on the Dubai International Rally, although the UAE’s hopes of a home victory are still alive at the half way point in the final and deciding round of the 2012 FIA Middle East Championship.

Aiming for his sixth straight win in the event and an eighth Middle East title, Al Attiyah completed today’s first leg seemingly in control, leading by 1min 29.2 secs from the UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi.

Another Emirati, Rashid Al Ketbi, was just 12.4 seconds further away in third place as Ford Fiesta Regional Rally Cars monopolised the leading positions in the 34th edition of the Dubai International Rally, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority

The Qatari trio of Khalid Al-Suwaidi, Abdulaziz Al Kuwari and 2010 Middle East champion Misfer Al Marri completed the top six at the end of the leg.

On a day when persistent rain made visibility difficult at times for the drivers, Al Attiyah was dominant throughout, setting fastest times on each of the six special stages alongside Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini.

With six more special stages remaining on tomorrow’s (Saturday) second leg, however, he knows he cannot afford to relax, and must avoid the kind of problems which ruined the victory hopes of one UAE challenger.

Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi, winner of the event in 2005 and 2006, was forced to retire after his Ford Fiesta RRC suffered two punctures on stage three while lying third.

The only consolation for the Emirati and British co-driver Scott Martin is that they can take advantage of the super rally regulation which allows them to re-start on the second leg, but well down the field as a result of time penalties.

It was a relatively trouble-free day for Al Attiyah, who needs only a top-five finish in Dubai to retain his FIA Middle East crown. “The rain made it difficult to see the route at times but it didn’t really affect my driving and we did a good job,” he said.

Sheikh Abdullah, who has been trying to win his home event since 1983, said: “I almost rolled the car on the third stage when we went on two wheels for about 50 metres, but otherwise everything was ok.”

Both he and Al Ketbi will battle on throughout the second leg knowing the uncertainties of rallying can bring dramatic changes in fortunes, although Al Attiyah has the unmistakable look of a champion in Dubai, and the Middle East, once again.

The rally is staged with the full support of the Dubai Ruler’s Court, and is backed by Emarat, Dubai Police, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services, and Dubai Civil Defence.

Another six special stages on Leg 2 will run in the Al Dhaid area and are easily located from the Sharjah-Kalba Road or the Al Dhaid Road. The survivors reach the finish on Emaar Boulevard,

Old Town Dubai, at 4.30pm on Saturday.


Provisional positions at end of 1st Leg


Nasser Al-Attiyah / Giovanni (QAT / ITA) / Ford / Fiesta RRC / GP2                     1:09:52.3

Abdulla Al Qassimi / Steve Lancaster (ARE / GBR) / Ford / Fiesta RRC / GP2      1:11:21.5

Rashid Al Ketbi / Khalid Al Kendi (ARE / ARE) / Ford / Fiesta RRC / GP2           1:11:33.9

Khalid Al-Suwaidi / Nick Beech (QAT / GBR) / Ford / Fiesta RRC / GP2              1:11:44.3

Abdulaziz Alkuwari / Killian Duffy (QAT / IRL) / Mini / JCWRRC / GP2             1:11:49.8

Misfer Almarri / Nicola Arena (QAT / ITA) / Mini / JCWRRC / GP2                     1:17:42.4

Alaa Rasheed / Joseph Matar (JOR / LBN) / Ford / Fiesta RRC / GP2                     1:18:54.9

Burcu Cetinkaya / Cicek Guney (TUR / TUR) / Mitsubishi Evo IX / GPN4             1:22:22.3

Nassib Nassar / Rony Maroun (LBN / LBN) / Mitsubishi / Evo III / GPN4              1:30:49.6

Dinesh Deheragoda / Sanjaya Roshan (LKA / LKA) Mitsubishi Evo / GPN4           1:31:27.7