Qatar: Al Attiyah seals 14th Qatar Rally win and first regions success for VW Golf GTi R5

Qatar: Al Attiyah seals 14th Qatar Rally win and first regions success for VW Golf GTi R5

Sat, March 16th, 2019- Manateq Qatar International Rally- FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 1

LOSAIL (Qatar): Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah cruised through the final six gravel special stages of the Manateq Qatar International Rally to seal a convincing victory by the margin of 3min 29.6sec on Saturday.

A record-breaking 14th victory in his home event also marked a remarkable 70th MERC victory in the 211-event history of the FIA Middle East Rally Championships since 1984. Al-Attiyah’s French co-driver Matthieu Baumel duly claimed his third win in Qatar and a career 18thin the MERC.

The success also marked the first outright FIA championship rally win for Volkswagen’s Polo GTI R5 that made its debut at the WRC in Spain last October and claimed WRC 2 success in Sweden in February with Norwegian driver Ole Christian Veiby. Customer Polos have already won national events in Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Latvia this year.

Al-Attiyah won each of the 11 special stages. He said: “The first win for the Polo in history in the Middle East. The car and the team were working very well. We learn a lot from this race. It was fun to drive. I get the feeling quickly, like I know the car very well. Now we prepare for Jordan. It’s important that we stay in the Middle East Championship.”

Baumel added: “I have 18 wins but I am not at the level of Nasser (70). The last two years we had problems and we retired here in Qatar. This year, with the new car, we were a little bit scared, but the car was perfect. No punctures also. A small scare with a sensor set-up last night but, I guess, this was because it was a new car. It was a good week.”

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari got to grips with his Škoda Fabia R5

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari got to grips with his Škoda Fabia R5 as the event progressed and he and British co-driver Marshall Clarke finished in a comfortable second place.

Al-Kuwari said: “Good rally and we enjoyed a lot. We were safe and clean. This is a good sign that I am driving safe. We need more time in the car in the desert to improve the set-up. Nothing better than second place behind Nasser to help me to continue. I congratulate him for the win.”

Sheikh Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani, the 1993 regional champion, claimed his first podium finish at the event since 2010 to give the host nation a first 1-2-3 finish since Al-Attiyah’s last home win in 2016.

“I am so happy about the third position. I also thank Dale (Moscatt), my-co-driver. He taught me so much inside the car. This car is like a new toy. It is beautiful. It is fantastic to drive. I just need a little more experience. I also drive a little safe to go to the finish.”

Veteran Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah managed to stave off a late challenge from Khalid Al-Suwaidi to conserve fourth overall in the battle of the two Ford Fiesta R5s.

Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri mixed it with the R5 cars for much of the rally

Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri mixed it with the R5 cars for much of the rally before slipping back to sixth overall after the penultimate stage. The Mitsubishi driver’s consolation was a massive winning margin of 18min 34.1sec in MERC 2.

Italy’s Stefano Marrini was the leading non-Arab driver in seventh overall and a distant second in MERC 2. Qatar’s Rashid Al-Mohannadi and Abdulla Al-Kuwari were eighth and ninth and Oman’s Abdullah Al-Ruwahi rounded off the top 10.

Defending MERC 3 champion Henry Kahy got the defence of his title off to the perfect start with 11th overall and first in the two-wheel drive category. Jordan’s Asem Aref closed off the FIA finishers in 12th.

Jarah Al-Touqi began the last day with a 17min 26.1sec lead in the Manateq Qatar National Rally and finished with a winning margin of 20min 03.4sec. Hamid Al-Qasimi was on a charge over the final day and managed to pass Zakariyah Al-Amri to take second place before retiring on the last stage.

Oman-based Briton Shaun McGonigal failed to restart from third after his Subaru sustained suspension bush damage after a puncture on the fifth stage.

Saturday – as it happened

Several competitors were awarded small time penalties for inadvertently making route deviations during the opening super special stage at Al-Wakrah on Thursday evening. The top seven positions were not affected by the Stewards’ decision, but there some changes to the leader board further down the order.

Two loops of three special stages were planned for Saturday and Al-Attiyah led the way into the opening Eraida stage of 19.39km with a lead of 1min 24.5sec after both he and closest rival Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari had picked up a 10-second penalty the previous evening.

The leader carded an opener of 10min 15.1sec and extended his advantage to 2min 01sec, as Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani pulled further clear of Al-Thefiri in third and Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah overtook Al-Suwaidi to snatch fifth after the latter’s R5 lapsed into two-wheel drive with a broken front axle. Jahman Jaralla failed to enter the overnight Parc Fermé and therefore restart this morning from his allotted position of eighth on the road.

Qatar’s Mohammed Al-Meer failed to restart as well and Lebanon’s Ahmed Khaled returned to service with fuel feed issues and retired his Mitsubishi. Oman’s Saif A-Harthy was also sidelined.

The longest stage of the rally at Al-Dhakira ran for 24.13km. There was no respite for Al-Attiyah’s rivals. He gained over one second a kilometre and another 24.5 seconds on Al-Kuwari. Only 12 FIA cars began the special: Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah was on a charge and pulled further clear of a troubled Al-Suwaidi. Kahy dropped over three minutes and slipped behind Abdulla Al-Kuwari into 10th overall.

The Al-Khor (18.18km) special followed before the late morning return to service at the Lusail Sports Centre. Al-Attiyah cruised through the test to extend his lead to 2min 35.1sec and Al-Thani survived damaging a suspension arm in a ditch. Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah set the third quickest time, despite two slow punctures, and continued to close in on Al-Thefiri.

Al-Attiyah said: “We are quite happy. The car is working very well and we are learning more and more. We know what we need now. We did a really good time in the first stage. I need to manage now. We don’t have time to test, but I need to keep the same pace with what we have received from VW. For Jordan, we have time to do more testing. Today we change the programme to be on the safe side. We try to keep the pace. I enjoy a lot.”

Third-placed Al-Thani said: “We break the front arm but we arrived on time. The last 100 metres of the last stage, the arm was cut completely. We have enough time to fix at service.”

Al-Suwaidi said: “It’s difficult because I broke the front axle on the first stage and only had two-wheel drive. I finished the three stages like this. We change at service. I had suspension problems yesterday. It was last minute to decide to do the rally and we did not have chance to prepare too much.”

Action resumed with Eraida 2 and Al-Attiyah shaved seven seconds off his morning’s run to increase the lead to 3min 03sec. Al-Suwaidi was able to push harder with a repaired Ford Fiesta and reduced Nasser Khalifa’s hold on fourth to 53.1 seconds. For his part, Al-Attiyah closed to within 16.9 seconds of Al-Thefiri in fourth, as all 12 survivors finished the special.

Al-Attiyah completed the penultimate special 10 seconds quicker than he had in the morning and took a lead of 3min 19.6sec to the final test at Al-Khor. A resurgent Al-Suwaidi managed to overtake Al-Thefiri and take fifth place and he closed to within 16.1 seconds of Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah, who also overtook the Kuwaiti.

There was no stopping the rally leader, however, and he lopped another 10 seconds off his morning run to seal the win from Al-Kuwari and Al-Thani. Sixth-placed Al-Thefiri confirmed the win in MERC 2 and a superb final stage from veteran Nasser Khalifa enabled him to stay in fourth.

Action resumes in the regional series in Jordan at the end of April.

2019 Manateq Qatar International Rally – positions after SS11 (@ 15.10hrs):

  1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Volkswagen Polo GTI R5        1hr 56min 18.8sec
  2. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Marshall Clarke (GBR) Škoda Fabia R5                              1hr 59min 48.4sec

  3. Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani (QAT)/Dale Moscatt (AUS) Ford Fiesta R5                           2hrs 07min 22.4sec

  4. Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Nicola Arena (ITA) Ford Fiesta R5                           2hrs 08min 58.5sec

  5. Khalid Al-Suwaidi (QAT)/Adel Abdulla (QAT) Ford Fiesta R5                                                 2hrs 09min 48.6sec

  6. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X (MERC 2)    2hrs 10min 47.5sec

  7. Stefano Marrini (ITA)/Nicolas Garcia (ARG) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X (MERC 2)             2hrs 29min 21.6sec

  8. Rashid Al-Mohannadi (QAT)/Yousef Juma (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X (MERC 2)     2hrs 34min 12.6sec

  9. Abdulla Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Hugo Magalhães (POR) Subaru Impreza (MERC 2                2hrs 35min 25.0sec

  10. Abdullah Al-Ruwahi (OMN)/Ata Hmoud (JOR) Subaru Impreza (MERC 2)                 2hrs 51min 04.1sec

  11. Henry Kahy (LEB)/Musa Djiyerian (JOR) Škoda Fabia (MERC 3)                                2hrs 53min 19.2sec

  12. Asem Aref (JOR)/Faris Al-Tal (JOR) Renault Clio (MERC 3)                                      3hrs 35min 07.6sec


2019 Manateq Qatar National Rally – positions after SS11:

  1. Jarah Al-Touqi (OMN)/Issa Al-Wardi (OMN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII                       2hrs 38min 22.3sec
  • Zakariyah Al-Amri (OMN)/Abdullah Al-Amri (OMN) Subaru Impreza                             2hrs 58min 25.7sec


    2019 FIA Middle East Rally Championship – standings after round 1 (unofficial):

    1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah                                      39pts

    2. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (QAT)                     30pts

    3. Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani (QAT)               24pts

    4. Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QAT)              19pts

    5. Khalid Al-Suwaidi (QAT)                                     16pts

    6. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)                       14pts

    7. Stefano Marrini (ITA)/                           7pts

    8. Rashid Al-Mohannadi (QAT)                   4prs

    9. Abdulla Al-Kuwari (QAT)                                    3pts

    10. Abdullah Al-Ruwahi (OMN)                   1pt

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    3 hrs ago


    Highlights from an action-packed brawl on the streets of Monte Carlo 💪 ... See Less

    Comment on Facebook

    Gutierrez is an absolute jerk and shouldn't be allowed to participate! He should go to a fair in Mexico and drive bumper cars...

    The thing about Gutiérrez is to consult with his psychologist, that the damages are not activated does not mean that you drive without respect, you cannot put the car where it does not fit, fantastic boot race, it was not the best circuit to debut in a virtual race and if He is not caught in the accident, he would have been in the top 3, I hope he dared to participate again, Lecler very clean.

    No damage is bullshit. Grow up.

    Can’t run this with damage on, just takes away the spectacle and not very interesting to watch when crashing into each other like this

    Gutierrez should play E roulette tonight. He hit everything else in Monaco, odds are he will hit his number or color as well

    Turning damage off was a big mistake. Just became intentional wall riding for most. It somewhat disconnects risk and reward.

    That It!!! All the F1 Pilots (when they're driving For Real) still think they're in virtual cars which can bounce off of everything without damage!

    So many people complaining, don't watch if it's so repulsive to you.

    Some shocking driving there. And people wonder why very few take it seriously. Crank damage up to 100% and let's see them

    Hey F1. You should have a night race at Monte Carlo and just add lights. I think it would be pretty cool.

    I feels like watching mini4WD series using barrier to turn lol Fun to watch, in not F1-serious like

    Oh this virtual thing is just lost. Loss of value in material, society and spirit. But who would compare?..

    Esteban Gutierrez driving was just shameful. I realize it's a video game... but even for a video game his driving was stupid.

    Damage off? Ghost Cars? THIS IS STUPID!

    No damage is just horrible, full of punts and wallriding

    2020 Monaco Virtual GP Nobody: All the drivers: SEND IT IN EVERY CORNER

    Action? Come on guys, activate damages, they are real drivers!

    “He wants to play bumper car or something” - everyone to Gutierrez - 2020

    F1 needs a no damage mode 😂

    If they had damage on, only Russell would have finished the race 😀

    Must put damage on... it is a carnage going on there!

    Turn damage on for Christ sake will prevent a lot of the stupid driving and dive bombs

    I guess one way to get on the podium is to literally knock your opponents out

    Thats a joke Man... IRL that race over in the 1st lap.

    Gutiérrez torpedoed everyone Pastor will be proud of him

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    6 hrs ago


    A mini-epic 🍿Alex Albon and Arthur Leclerc fight for P4 in the closing laps of Sunday's Virtual Monaco Grand Prix 👏 ... See Less

    Comment on Facebook

    Gutierrez ruined the race outcome. I expect that kinda bumper cars from nascar. I’d why I quit that series. Altho it sounds like it pleased some folks. Well, there’s always the real thing, and bikes. flat track, moto, and. Enduro’s. Something for everybody. Hope the next one is cleaner.

    I would loooooove to get relevant F1 news without fantasy races and fluff. Is there a F1 page just for that? I realize everyone is struggling to stay relevant but fantasy racing is not what I signed up for.

    This might be interesting if they turned on damage. W/O it it's just BS bumper cars, ignoring track limits and a useless thing to watch.

    Another Ferrari driver who can't handle being passed

    Turn on damages. What a mess it look like kids driving today ...

    More exiting than real F1.. says enough!

    Why has F1 not adopted Esports to carry the season until the real racing can continue? Would be alot more interesting to see all the grid in equal cars. Even if it's not exactly the real thing.

    It looks fake and it is...multiple collisions, no damage, no nothing. It’s just not interesting.

    Glad they made titanium front wings and sidepods.

    Enough of this. Bring back the real deal

    Super unrealistic...

    Do people look at this crap really only stockcar racing

    Good old Karting move 👍

    Never seen such racing in Monaco.

    The fact these guys race with no damage is sad.

    turn damage on so we can really have fun watching drivers survive monaco.

    Is that Blackpool GP coz they drive like they were on the Dodgems?!

    He went through where Max couldn't get past Hamilton last season

    😮👏🏻 Good luck

    I think they should have had damage on

    Turn on the damage

    Gutierrez is the Pagenaud of F1

    100% Prost v Senna

    Súper real los golpes que se dan y siguen como si nada...👏🏼👏🏼

    Isso pq vcs não viram o que fizeram em romrom17 .com hilariante!

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    6 hrs ago


    Charles Leclerc was a bit GUTted! 😮 ... See Less

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    Not watched this rubbish. They need to do a kind of battle royale style event where everyone has damage on, except kyviat and the last person to be torpedoed wins.

    Bad luck for Charles on that point. Two years ago breaks failure and now this😂

    Why are some people so angry on this thread because wheels didn't fly off a virtual car? Lockdown really hitting hard 😂

    No damage... It's just a laugh that you need the settings for 5 year olds...

    Honestly what Esteban today did was dirty... unacceptable, was watching Marcel Kiefer's stream and he was raging and swearing!

    Just get to real racing already. This virtual racing wore out a month ago. NASCAR has started and IndyCar starts June 6th.

    These clips only remind me how barren my life is without F1 lol. I can't find any enthusiasm for these Mario Kart races.

    😐 c'mon now...turn on damage and get all the F1 drivers involved. Have your "celebrity" races elsewhere. ½points for virtual races and add them to whatever is earned when the actual season resumes.

    Can we get a full contact death match mode with weapons please? Please!

    Someone appears to have driven through Leclercs car, ghostlike, as if made of ectoplasm...

    You have overdone it with the "virtual" grand Prixs.I am a gamer and a FORMULA 1 fan myself but just the marketing exaggeration and promotion of all these tends to become boring, at least for those who spend a lot of time with pure Formula 1 things.Even the the E-league was better organized...

    If they're going to play a game with ridiculous physics and no damage, why don't they just play Call of Duty. That's about as close to real war as this F1 game is to car racing.

    Alright, it's funny if everyone agrees to go full Mario Kart mode. Not if a couple decides to torpedoe everyone while the rest is actually trying ro race. Either implement some set of rules or just switch to Mario Kart for this series. It was funny, now it's just ridiculous.

    What no damage. That the whole point of f1

    Leclerc and Monaco is just not a good combination.

    What a load of sh*te this is honest. May as well watch them all playing mario cart. Utterly pointless.

    Here for all the ItS nOt ReAlIsTiC comments. No kidding, it's a video game.

    The handling on the Codemasters games will always be rubbish, far from realistic, useless.

    Get a grip ya whining bastards! Yes, there's a bit of overzealous what! It's a bit of fun and at least a little entertainment for us while there's no real F1.

    Turn on damage and the Esteban issue will fix itself.

    it was the worst virtual gp please turn on damage

    did the Alfa just phase through Leclerc's car??

    Les mecs ils jouent sans les dégâts...trop la honte serieux quand nous on jouent en réel

    also Esteban seems to be like five years child who chrashing into everything

    They really need to mount guns and oil slicks and mix things up. 😜

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    10 hrs ago


    An emotional day for all involved as Tatsuki Suzuki handed SIC 58 Squadra CORSE victory at the circuit named after the late Marco Simoncelli ❤️

    Relive the highlights from the #SanMarinoGP! 🇸🇲
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    What an emotional race. Amazing.


    Dominik Leder

    en ik ook

    Fatima Benard segundo 35 cuando voy conduciendo y me envías un mensaje

    Ricardo Blokzijl Nathalie Blokzijl, dat weekendje gaat jammer genoeg dit jaar niet door

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    11 hrs ago

    24H Series

    Yesterday during the 12H MONZA, Munckhof Racing powered by No Fear Energy Drink and Ciceley Motorsport side by side during the race! 🏎️💥

    #thisisendurance #24hseries #24hseries2020 #motorsport #12hmonza #racing #iracing #esports
    ... See Less

    Yesterday during the 12H MONZA, Munckhof Racing powered by No Fear Energy Drink and Ciceley Motorsport side by side during the race! 🏎️💥

#thisisendurance #24HSERIES #24HSERIES2020 #motorsport #12HMONZA #racing #iracing #esports

    11 hrs ago


    How does Valentino Rossi VR46 Official describe himself? 🤔
    Does he like pineapple on a pizza? 🍍🍕
    What's his favourite #MotoMonster Energy Yamaha MotoGPhis and more about the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider in our Quick Fire questions ⁉️
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    Optimistic in 2018 to enjoying my soft pizza from bridgestone with mayonaise in the beach at sunset with coffee and gain cardio of my dogs just to funny 😆😆✌️

    Gotta love that guy! 🤣 what if your cat finds out about that dog mishap?? 🙈 Also: pineapple on pizza is THE BEST! I’m sorry but it’s true 😝

    Ahhhh - I got all of these right (except the mayonnaise on pizza but that’s definitely more acceptable than pineapple 🤢). Always makes me smile 😊 x

    Vale you are really Amazing!!!! Good luck!!! We Love ❤💛 YOU!!!!

    Looking forward to racing again . You look really good , relaxed & happy. You will always be No 1 . ❤ One kiss x

    Always smiling our Vale !! and of course optimistic. I love him 🥰. I hope to see you soon on the track. 😉

    Valentino looks like he needs that beard filling makeup pen that’s all the target on FB

    My Boy, and no pineapple, I'm allergic. XX

    Like the longer hair, not the beard... You can shave, you don't need the barber for that....

    Only you were allowed to switch the tyres from Michelin to Bridgestone.. What a shame!

    Maybe they should do this for all the riders????

    FFS!! Enough of the fan-boy shite MotoGP!! 🤬 Let's see something about other riders. You have 82 others to choose from!

    Mayonnaise on a pizza? In Italy? It must be an Uccio thing, there's no other explanation... 🤣🤣🤣

    Pizza with mayonnaise??????

    Hahahaha "forbidden." #pineappledoesnotbelongonpizza

    T-shirt salesman

    rossi: mayo pizza cooks: WHAT A GENIUS he must be 200+ iq

    I love this guy...

    Hello mester Rossi we miss you, Go go go

    Ah Vale!.. la pizza con la maionese proprio non si può sentire!!!!😱😱😱😱😱

    Go put some beard

    Legend. Forza

    Che cazzo dici Vale? Mayonnaise su pizza? Perche no Vegemite?!? 🤣🤣🤙🤙

    RETIRE already!!!!!!!!

    Jamais de sous titre sur vos vidéos sa commence à être lourd

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