Attiyah to build team to groom young Qatari drivers
DOHA QATARI star Nasser bin Saleh al Attiyah is planning to form his own team to groom local rally drivers in future.
At the sidelines of the Sealine Cross-Country Rally, which had a ceremonial start at the Corniche on Monday, the 2011 Dakar Rally champion said that he was going ahead strongly with idea of owning the team and had already got the backing of the Qatari government about it.
“My future plan is not only about winning more titles. I wish to prepare my own team for Qatar. I’ll be the owner of it and will support the talented newcomer rally drivers of Qatar,” said Attiyah, the face of Qatari sports with multiple exploits in the car rally and shooting.
“I’ve got the full support of the Qatari government and I hoped to have the team ready within a year,” he added.
Attiyah feels Qatar has a plenty of drivers now and it would be a good idea to provide them with the same back-up that they are getting from outside at the moment after paying a lot of money.
“Often we are asked why we are paying so much money on hiring the services from the outside teams.
We have now got the required experience and I feel that we can manage everything well,” Attiyah said.
“After forming the team with best engineers and mechanics, we’ll monitor the progress for a year or so.
Then I’ve the plan to involve Qatar Foundation regarding the technological boost and advancements,” said Attiyah.
“I’ve been rallying for a long time and I’m confident that my vast experience would also come handy while sharing my knowledge with the young drivers.
“I’m not going to stop racing.
I’ll continue to do rallies as long as I can. But I wish to help the new generation as well so that Qatar can produce more rally drivers,” said Attiyah with determination.
Talking about his chances in the Sealine Cross- Country Rally, he first joked: “I’ll push hard on the first day and give myself a 10-minute lead!” But he quickly said in serious tone: “The rally has a strong field with Jean-Louis (Schlesser) and Khalifa (al Mutaiwei) being present.
I do have the advantage of the home rally. The route requires clever driving or the stones can ruin your rally any time.” Coma excited Four times World Cross- Country Rally champion Spanish Marc Coma, fresh from his sixth overall win in the Abu Dhabhi Desert Challenge last week, feels the Sealine Rally is an open race as it is new to almost all the riders.
“It’s very difficult to say anything about the toughest rivals before the start of the race. Last week, (Gerard) Farres (Guell) looked the strongest challenger in Abu Dhabi. The rally is new and I feel a lot will depend on who gets a good start.
“It appears that the level of competition should be more or less the same as was in the Abu Dhabi rally.
It should be an open race,” added Coma, a triple Dakar Rally winner.
“The first day is going to be very important and we’ll learn about the terrain,” the Spanish rider added