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Al Attiyah crowned world cross country rally champion again

Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel

Bengaluru, October 11: Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah defended the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies crown after his fourth outright victory in the rain-affected Rally of Morocco.

Driving a Toyota Hilux for the Overdrive Racing Team, Nasser and his French navigator Matthieu Bauemel were a in a class of their own in the 10th and penultimate round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.

For the records, it was Nasser's fourth world title (2008, 2015 and 2016) and gives him a lot of confidence ahead of the 2018 Dakar Rally, where he is a two-time champion.

"This was a hard-earned victory and a very important one for me and the whole team," said a delighted Al Attiyah, who had already claimed outright wins this season in Dubai, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Spain, Hungary and Poland.

The Qatari gave Toyota a second successive series win with his eighth victory of a dominant 2017 campaign with French navigator Matthieu Baumel.

For Baumel, it was third world title and the duo had to fight hard to overcome a fierce early challenge from multiple World Rally Championship winner Sebastien Loeb over a six-day event where large chunks of the competitive route were cancelled because of flooding.

Loeb finished second in his Puegot 3008DKR, while Poland's Jakub Przygonski (Mini Cooper) brought up the last spot on the podium.

Al Attiyah's winning margin was 7min 55sec and gave him an unassailable lead of 109 points in the FIA World Cup for Crss-Country Rallies with one event in Portugal (October 26 to 28) remaining.

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Story first published: Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 11:53 [IST]
Other articles published on Oct 11, 2017