Rally: Al Attiyah cruises to victory as local racer Al-Thefiri secures national title in Kuwait International Rally

Rally: Al Attiyah cruises to victory as local racer Al-Thefiri secures national title in Kuwait International Rally
11-time FIA Middle East rally champion won all the 13 timed special stages at the second round of the regional series and reached the finish in Fintas on Saturday afternoon with a winning margin of 11min 24.9sec.

11-time FIA Middle East rally champion won all the 13 timed special stages at the second round of the regional series and reached the finish in Fintas on Saturday afternoon with a winning margin of 11min 24.9sec.

Saturday, March 26th, 2016-FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), round2 

FINTAS (Kuwait):  A record sixth victory in the Kuwait International Rally was never really in doubt for Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah. The 11-time FIA Middle East rally champion won all the 13 timed special stages at the second round of the regional series and reached the finish in Fintas on Saturday afternoon with a winning margin of 11min 24.9sec.

He and French navigator Matthieu Baumel controlled their pace at the three-day rally from start-to-finish to deliver yet another faultless team performance, a record 62nd MERC rally win for the driver and an 11th for his navigator.

“It was important that I won here and collected the maximum points, but I wasn’t really pushed on this rally,” said Al-Attiyah. “I would like to see my rivals come back on the next rallies. The car was fantastic and we managed to win every stage on an event that I enjoy very much.”

Meshari Al-Thefiri,  capped a memorable weekend with second overall and outright victory in the hard-fought MERC 2 category in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X

Meshari Al-Thefiri, capped a memorable weekend with second overall and outright victory in the hard-fought MERC 2 category in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X 

Newly-crowned Kuwaiti national champion Meshari Al-Thefiri, whose father Ahmed won the event before it became a round of the series way back in 1981, capped a memorable weekend with second overall and outright victory in the hard-fought MERC 2 category in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. His winning margin was 1min 28.2sec.

Partnered by Qatar’s Nasser Al-Kuwari on this occasion, he became only the second Kuwaiti in MERC history to reach the podium and the first to record a second-placed finish – the Kuwaiti duo of Mufeed Mubarak and Saad Al-Melaifi finished third in the MERC category at the Jordan WRC Rally in 2011.

“This is the icing on the cake of a fabulous weekend for me,“ said a delighted Al-Thefiri. “I confirmed the Kuwait Championship yesterday and decided to push hard today. Second place and the podium is a fantastic result for me and for motor sport in Kuwait.”

Qatar’s Rashed Al-Nuami and Italian navigator Nicola Arena struggled with the loss of third gear on their Subaru Impreza for two stages and retired from third position with ongoing gearbox issues with one stage to go, although they maintained the unofficial MERC 2 championship advantage after two rounds.

Yigit Timur lost his way in one stage for a time in a Tok Sport Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, but he and co-driver Ufuk Ulocak benefited from Al-Nuami’s misfortune to confirm third place and the runner-up spot in MERC 2.

The winner’s brother Khalifa Al-Attiyah and Cypriot navigator Savvas Laos finished the event in fourth, while the Lebanese duo of Rodolphe Asmar and experienced co-driver Joseph Matar were fifth.

Qatar’s Khaled Al-Suwaidi and Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini benefited from the Rally 2 ruling to start the second day in eighth overall in their Ford Fiesta R5. But the Qatari was too far behind to make a real impression and, despite a string of second fastest times, he could only finish sixth.

Saudi rookie Rakan Al-Rashed and Finnish navigator Jarkko Kalliolepo held seventh overall before being overhauled by Al-Suwaidi. Al-Rashed finished his second ever rally in seventh  place, however, after Al-Nuami retired.

The Qatari pairing of Abdullah Al-Kuwari and Adel Hussein returned to action under Rally 2 and completed the event in eighth. Turkey’s Vidat Diker and the Kuwaiti duo of Saleh Ali and Elie Chachati rounded off the international finishers in ninth, 10th and 11th overall.

The event was organised by the Basil Salem Al-Sabah Motor Racing Club (BMRC) under the chairmanship of Sheikh Athbi Nayef Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and in conjunction with the General Authority for Sport.

Day 2 – as it happened

Al-Attiyah began the final day with a comfortable lead of 6min 27.3sec over Thefiri after Timur was handed a 30-second time penalty on Friday evening that dropped the Turk to fourth overall and third in the MERC 2 section and handed Al-Thefiri an MERC 2 lead over Al-Nuami of 24.8 seconds.

Only 10 of the 13 starters had completed the first day, but the three drivers who hit problems were re-classified in Rally 2 on Saturday morning. Khalid Al-Suwaidi rejoined in eighth overall, Abdullah Al-Kuwari was ninth and Vidat Diker was 13th.

The first of two runs through the 16.61km of the Bnaider stage, south of Kuwait City, was first on the agenda and Al-Attiyah set the benchmark with a time of 10min 45.3sec. It was over 13 seconds quicker than the time set by his returning R5 counterpart, Al-Suwaidi, but the real battle was taking place in MERC 2.

Al-Nuami reduced Al-Thefiri’s lead by 3.7 seconds, but Timur was in flying form and the fastest MERC 2 time saw the Turk overhaul Al-Nuami to snatch third overall and reduce Al-Thefiri’s lead to just 8.3 seconds.

The ninth special, near the military base at Arifjan, ran for 15.37km. Al-Attiyah was coasting and arrived at the stage start with an outright lead of 7min 28.3sec. His only R5 rival, Al-Suwaidi, was beginning to make a move back up the leader board from eighth position, but held little chance of reaching the podium.

Al-Thefiri moved a further 18 seconds ahead of Al-Nuami and he beat Timur by 1.8 seconds to increase his MERC 2 advantage to 10.1 seconds. Germany’s Edith Weiss did not start the stage after hitting a ditch  that damaged the radiator in SS8. She tried to make emergency repairs, but her demise reduced the number of drivers still running to 12.

There were no dramas for Al-Attiyah on the Julai’a stage and he reached the regroup and service break with an overall lead of 8min 47sec. Al-Thefiri laid down the MERC 2 gauntlet with a time of 7min 57.5sec and he pulled a further 20.6 seconds away from Al-Nuami, who had lost third gear and was clearly struggling. It was also sufficient for the Kuwaiti to extend his MERC 2 lead over Timur to 32.4 seconds at the halfway point, after the Turk was reported to have lost his way in the special stage.

“I am extremely happy,” said Al-Thefiri at service. “Yesterday was the fourth round of the Kuwait national championship and I won the title. Today, I have nothing to lose and am pushing to the maximum. My lead is even more now when Yigit lost his way in the stage. It is a dream to be second. I has not happened for a Kuwaiti driver on this event before.”

“There is no competition, unfortunately, in my category here,” said leader Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah. “With the new points system it was important that we finished both days, but I am taking it easy now. This is one of my favourite rallies.”

A repeat run through the three stages was on the agenda for the afternoon and both Al-Attiyah and Al-Suwaidi were markedly slower than in the morning. Al-Thefiri closed in on history with a time of 11min 47.4sec and gained another 12.4 seconds on Al-Nuami. He just needed to stay clear of trouble to claim a career-best finish and his cause was made that much easier when Timur dropped a chunk of time and slipped to fourth overall.

Arifjan 2 provided no drama for Al-Attiyah either and the Qatari reached the start of the final stage safe in the knowledge that his lead was 10min 37.1sec. Al-Thefiri also stayed clear of trouble in the penultimate stage and his MERC 2 lead at the start of Julai’a 2 was 1min 03.2sec. Al-Suwaidi overhauled Al-Rashed and moved into seventh place.

Julai’a passed without issues for the leading duo and Al-Attiyah rounded off a clinical weekend’s work with the 13th consecutive fastest time to seal the win by a massive 11min 24.9sec. There was joy as well for Al-Thefiri and a first ever second-placed finish for a Kuwaiti on a round of the MERC. But gearbox problems thwarted Al-Nuami within sight of the finish and gifted the final podium place to Timur.

The regional series now moves on to demanding special stages near the Dead Sea in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at the start of May.

2016 Kuwait International Rally – positions after SS13 (unofficial @ 15.45hrs):

  1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Skoda Fabia R5 2hr 08min 06.1sec
  2. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 2hr 19min 31.0sec
  3. Yigit Timur (TUR)/Ufuk Uluocak (TUR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 2hr 20min 59.2sec
  4. Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Savvas Laos (CYP) Subaru Impreza                 2hr 21min 59.5sec
  5. Rodolphe Asmar (LEB)/Joseph Matar (LEB) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 2hr 26min 56.2sec
  6. Khalid Al-Suwaidi (QAT)/Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta R5 2hr 27min 25.3sec
  7. Rakan Al-Rashed (SAU)/Jarkko Kalliolepo (FIN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 2hr 28min 40.6sec
  8. Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Adel Hussein (QAT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 2hr 33min 17.5sec
  9. Vedat Diker (TUR)/Erdal Oral (TUR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X                 2hr 48min 05.7sec
  10. Saleh Ali (KWT)/Othman Hamdar (KWT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII 2hr 54min 54.0sec
  11. Elie Chachati (KWT)/Naji Sfeir (LEB) Subaru Impreza 3hr 03min 43.7sec


2016 Middle East Rally Championship – drivers’ positions after round 2 (unofficial):

  1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT) 78 pts
  2. Khalid Al-Suwaidi (QAT)                 40 pts
  3. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)                 30 pts
  4. Rashed Al-Nuami (QAT)                          29 pts
  5. Rodolphe Asmar (LEB)                 28 pts
  6. Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT)                 25 pts
  7. Yigit Timut (TUR)                 23 pts
  8. Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QAT)                 19 pts, etc


2016 FIA MERC 2 – after round 2 (unofficial):

  1. Rashed Al-Nuami (QAT)                          44 pts
  2. Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT)                 41 pts
  3. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)                 39 pts
  4. Rodolphe Asmar (LEB)                 39 pts
  5. Yigit Timur (TUR)                 29 pts
  6. Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QAT)                 24 pts, etc

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8 hrs ago


That Alex Albon is so cheeky 😂 ... See Less

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Omg! I love this duo so much! Never fail to make me laugh 😂

Actually I don't Like Alex' sense of humor :/ he is imo too arrogant

Is it just me or does anybody else wanna punch max in the fuckin face as hard as u could??

Why in the hell did Merc haven't done Grill the Grid?

If he think that one is bad i wonder what he think of the rookie of the year one ! 👀

Alex very honest! I like that


Did he say Sonny Moore at 0:28?

Congrats 😎

Nikko Par

Alex Albon 💙

Sarah Jones

Ricardo Ruiz

While you patiently waiting for your monthly salary, others are busy earning nothing less than $500- $10000 every 48hours, Ask me how????

Celine Maddie

Traduscalon a español

Rahul Kale Nuaman Wt

Max might be fast but his funny level is pretty low.

"It looks Romanian" hahaha good knowledge of flags Alex!

Who win this in 2018 please?

Being a Romanian, I’m surprise that Albon know the Romania 🇷🇴 flag ☺️. Wow.

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9 hrs ago


Hang in there... fewer than 💯 days until the next race 😅 ... See Less

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Man weekends are so boring at the moment. Drive to survive needs to come out sooner than March to help this out

It was fun back in the days when we had the V8 .. It was a joy to watch the replays but now I can't stand watching any reply of this era even if it was a perfect move or something really special Please give us some noise .. I want my ears to hurt again 😅

And if Sebastian and Max have been good Saint Nic may bring them a fast car for 2020.

Odotetaan jannityksella odotus aika tuntuu pitkalta vai mita . ?? 🌲🌨🎅🎅Hyvaa joulua seka vuoden loppua . 🥂❤️❤️🍀🍀.

Super cross holds me over quite well until F1 starts back up.

It's gonna be a long winter.

It’s worse when you put it that way! 100 days...omg....nooooooooooooo!

90 days, 4 hours, 9 minutes and 30 sec to be precise...

Now that F1 has been over.

Waiting on the season to start

if V12 days yes we aka fans are eager for new seasons race but not now sadly..

With me in the competition.. Your gonna.. WIN.. 🏆❤💋

We are ready 💜😏

I know it’s not F1, but urge everyone to get on to the Bathurst 12 hour stream, starting October 21st. A real motor race with overtaking. It might get you through to the start of the next F1 season. www.bathurst12hour.com.au/news/2020-liqui-moly-bathurst-12-hour-date-confirmed/

Hang in there Tom, it’ll be back soon!!

Racing denotes some sort of competition is involved.

Can't wait!

It's not that long.

Waiting for this.. 👍🏻 👍🏻 👏🏻 🏁🏁🏎️🏎️👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Non vediamo l'ora che comincia grand premio, speriamo che sia spettacolare come finale 2019...

100 days never seemed longer

Race ever day.

اعطونا رزنامت الموسم القادم

Can’t wait 😆

Can't wait.

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10 hrs ago


🥁 And the winner is... (as voted by F1 fans) ... See Less

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Funny how fans were whingeing about the state of F1 in early 2019, saying it's boring and a procession...Soon as they said that, boom! We have a season on our hands. A season to enjoy, with some of the best overtakes I've ever seen, in my 34 full years of F1 watching! Wow!

I'm surprised that Leclercs move on Gasly at Silverstone isn't included in this list. I don't think I've ever seen an overtake around the outside of Village. Pretty impressive, as far as I am concerned.

Would you look at that F1, the FIAs "Action of the Year" nowhere to be seen as anyone with an ounce of credibility knows that was an overtake off the circuit.

Sainz at Brazil should’ve been #1

Seriously how Max got "Action of the year" with that move I'll never know.... Way more impressive moves this year than that!

Lec overtake impossible Ver overtake very difficult and very beautiful but possible ! For me Lec P1 Ver P2

The number 1 is one of the easiest move, it's number 1 just 'cause crytappen done it. In the same footage, 20 meters behind, there is a more gutsy move made by his team-mate Albon on the (most powerful on straights) Ferrari of Vettel. That shows once again that "voted by fan" means s**t. Most of them can't even understand the basis of motorsport.

I liked the double overtake of Verstappen on LeClerc and Hamilton in Brazil the most. Such confidence and determinatiom and Senna-esque going for the gap. That’s what makes Max brilliant

The overtake of Verstappen to Leclerc in Austria is not a good overtake, was an ilegal overtake!

Passing on the grass is always tricky. A bit too much throttle either on the grass or when regaining the track and you're not going to have a good day. Much as I'm not a fan of Leclerc, I do have to say where he passed in Monaco was tricky and took some skill. I think that Norris' double pass in COTA should've been in this top ten.

Everything that F1 does here is to find a way to sell Max as an phenomenon. It sucks .... no credibility at all.

Max's overtake on Hamilton is exactly like Montoya to Schumacher at the same place in a GP of Brazil..

Where is Hamilton on Vettel in Bahrain?? And Albon on Ricciardo at Spa!!?

An overtaking package without a single highlight from Ricciardo. Sums up Renault's season perfectly.

No.4 Bottas passed Hamilton on the next corner, where no one had passed before. It was great move!

P7 was not overtaking. It was forcing out of the track and causing a collison

And Sainz in Mónaco overtakes kvyat?

Number 4 Bottas repasted Hamilton into Cops corner that should be in the top 10, not often we have cars wheel too wheel into the corner it was fantastic racing from both drivers !!! 🤙

The best overtake for me is Leclerc on Gasly in Silverston

Sainz last lap overtake that secured the point för the 6th Palace in the Championship

6 years of Boring Parades.....F1 used to actually race before the Engineering Exercise.

That Max pass on Leclerc was anything but clean or graceful. Shoulda left a little more room outside.

To vote overtake moves check tyre wear and strategy cause a Williams can send one outside of Merc if tyres are worn differently......

how was sainz 3rd and not first? that was brave and crazily tight to overtake there....

Why Leclerc got 2 best overtake? I’ve never seen overtaking at that part of the track in this decade.

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11 hrs ago


Round 2 in Ausin provided drama that nobody expected! 😱

Take a look back at the first moments of the #AmericasGP! 🇺🇸

... See Less

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MM side to side transitions down through the esses is so much quicker than everyone else! Also he brakes so much harder and later than anyone coming into 12 it’s unreal to watch in person!

That turn 1 is so amazing.

it was actually round 3....but who's counting....

First race I went to ❤️

Who wrote this a child sloppy

Austin not 'Ausin' 😂 Round 3 not 2 😂 I think MotoGP is drunk

Cant spell Austin

Where’s Ausin? Is that near Austin?

Vr 46 😍

who won..??

Round 3 in Austin

What drama? 🤷‍♂️

Where is Ausin?

Patrick Souza

Wasn't Austin* round 3?

that race..??

Bay Shapso

Marc Marquez ❤❤

Wow this track is up, the lining of the #GP is so amazing ,😎

Forza VR46 ❤

Fabien Audouard Polo Fabien

Tressia Nowlin 🏍️❤️❤️❤️‼️‼️‼️


Que puesto quedo rossi?

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12 hrs ago


A first every Álex Rins/493142754078013">#MotoGP victory for Álex Rins! 🏆

His victory back at the #AmericasGP will go down in the history books! 👏
... See Less

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Rossi has perfected diving in too late and hot, then running way wide. You'd think he'd know better by now.

rossi should kick rins. so he can win this race. 🤐


S U Z U K Ingggggg 💪💪💪👏👏👏🦾🦾

Young riders to win 😎

I was there😁

Boa. Parabéns




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18 hrs ago


Maiden winners at the Marc Márquez17">#AmericasGPMaverick Viñalesf="https://facebooÁlex Rins142754078013">#MotoGP ➡️ Marc Márquez 🏆
2014 #Moto2 ➡️ Maverick Viñales 🏆
2013 #Moto3 ➡️ Álex Rins 🏆
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2013 AmericasGP marquez: new bike, new track, fast to adapt

Miss You Little Samurai #26DP 😑😑

Of course a choose Vin also...

Always.... Marc...

First is always special ❣️❣️❣️

Always Marc 💪🏻💪🏻🇳🇵🇳🇵

Miss you dani😭😭

Marc ❤

The first sign of the alien existed


MM93 forewer

Keliatan beda kelas antara marc dgn alex and vina

Always boring rider and boring titles from marq marquez

Babang dani 😍


Hallo ich bin Martin 😀

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20 hrs ago


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