Nasser Al-Attiyah wins rally in Morocco and takes World Cup title
Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah (X-Raid Team) is the winner of the Rallye du Maroc, the penultimate round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel, his co-driver in the Mini All4 Racing, won ahead of three crews with Toyotas.
The second placed Russian driver Vladimir Vasilyev was the main rival to Al-Attiyah in the championship fight, but after the victory at the Moroccan desert, the Qatari driver secured the title with a 40-point advantage, because in the last race (Baja Portalegre, 22-24 October) the winner will be awarded with 30 points.
At the end of five days of desert-rally action, the former WRC star Mikko Hirvonen finished fifth in the Mini All4 Racing. Having already finished third in the Baja Aragon, the Finnish driver was excellent in his desert debut and together with his experienced French co-driver Michel Périn now secured the fifth place.
“I’m really happy. We didn´t have many problems and I didn´t get stuck. It worked very well with Michel. I know there are still some areas I’m not so comfortable with, but that comes with more kilometres. I should not expect too good results at the Dakar but if I can finish like this – not getting stuck, not make any mistake – we can deliver a good performance over there,” said Hirvonen in the end.
Another former WRC superstar Sebastien Loeb, in his cross country rally debut, finished 44th, after problems with the car on the first day and later rollover on the stage. But, when everything was OK with his Peugeot 2008 he showed enough speed for top 5.
Another Peugeot driver, rally legend Carlos Sainz, drove the new evolution of 2008 and was leading the rally after three days, but on the fourth day the engine stopped. The team decided to retire from the rally and will focus on further testing before January’s Dakar Rally.
Photos: X-Raid, Peugeot Sport