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Qatar to stage FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies season opener

Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah

Bengaluru, October 14: Qatar will continue to stage the opening round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies after the FIA Cross-Country Commission approved the provisional calendar for the 2020 season.

Organised by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), the event will take place from February 22 to 27, four weeks after the conclusion of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

Officials at the QMMF have put together a generous concessions package to attract international competitors to join rivals from other GCC countries and the host nation. A delegation from the QMMF recently visited both Baja Spain Aragon and Baja Poland to meet potential teams and gain feedback in advance of the event in 2020.

Home hero

Home hero

Home hero and three-time Dakar Rally champion Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah has won the Qatar Cross-Country Rally a record six times.

Last year, the ace Qatari and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel guided their Toyota Hilux to a winning margin of 11min 10sec to confirm a sixth victory for the driver in the eight years that the event has been a round of the FIA series.

Double delight

Double delight

Al Attiyah had also won the candidate event when it was called the Qatar International Baja in 2011.

It was double delight for the Qatari then as his victory at home happened just weeks after he had piloted his Toyota Hilux to a third Dakar triumph in nine years.

Demanding rounds

Demanding rounds

This season, the QMMF will cover return shipping costs from Genoa or Rotterdam to Doha.

There will also be free shipping for all Dakar competitors keen to tackle one of the most demanding rounds of the FIA World Cup, which has a reputation for slick organisation, demanding navigation and varied off-road terrain across the length and breadth of the Middle East country.

Bright start

Bright start

Having missed out on the overall FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies title by a point to Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel, Al Attiyah will be keen to make amends and hoping for a bright start at home.

Last year, Al Attiyah won in Qatar and Kazakhstan, but skipped the Abu Dhabi leg.

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Story first published: Monday, October 14, 2019, 13:40 [IST]
Other articles published on Oct 14, 2019
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