Nasser wins Qatar Int'l Rally | MERC - 2013

Nasser Al-Attiyah - Ford Fiesta RS RRC
Nasser Al-Attiyah won the the opening round of the 2013 FIA Middle East Rally ChampionshipQatar International Rally.

Nasser in his Qatar World Rally Team Fiesta RRC with Giovanni Bernacchini co-driving, completed the rally 55.7s quicker than Khalid Al-Qassimi who was driving the Abu Dhabi Racing Citroën DS3 RRC in the 12-stage rally.

Khalid Al-Qassimi - Citroen DS3 RRC
Although Al-Qassimi was 1.1s faster on the final stage, and also he was briefly on the top spot in the earlier stages, he couldn't beat the faster Qatari.

Abdulaziz Al Kuwari finished third, 4m15.0s off the lead, in his Seashore Qatar Fiesta.

It was Nasser's tenth home event victory, says "...winning in Qatar is always a special feeling and to take my 10th win here is superb.”




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WRC could be Hoon'ed by "Ken Block" thrice this season!

Mr.Hoonigan is very much interested in making a return for atleast three rallies this season, in WRC. That is definitely good news for the top rally series. Ken Block recently released his new livery for the upcoming season of Rally America series, and boy, does it look good!

The graphics and colors used on the Hoon'ing machine is simply superb and it definitely reflect his attitude, stands out exceptionally well.

If the return is sure, then he will definitely compete in the third round in Rally Mexico, and Finland and Wales are other favorites. So that should be it, with the three rallies this season. Hope he comes back with good backing and for a full season and it should really bring the good amount of spectators [both on-land & online].

Here is him testing of his car with new outfit, for the ongoing Sno*Drift 2013 Rally, of Rally America Championship series.

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Red Bull-Sponsored Teams see Truck and Bike Wins in Dakar 2013 - Report by Jake Oates

Ruben Faria & Cyril Despres
Red Bull-sponsored teams have claimed victory in the truck and bike categories during this year's Dakar Rally.

Team Kamaz - Victorious
Cyril Despres battled his way through the early stages of the 2013 event, in which buggy, bike, quad and lorry drivers took on 8,500 kilometres of harsh terrain in South America, and managed to claim his fifth Dakar victory.

Cyril Despres - Tackling sand dunes
Riding a KTM, the Frenchman gained his second consecutive win in the rally, despite suffering a penalty after he was forced to change engines mid-way through the race.

KTM boys Champagne Showers
"Of course every win at the Dakar is special but this one stands out for me because it is the first time I have been able to defend my title. Winning the Dakar two years in a row is rare and nobody has done it since Fabrizio Meoni ten years ago," he said of the win.

Team Kamaz's Eduard Nikolaev saw similar success in Dakar 2013, fending off all competition to win the truck category by more than 37 minutes. His victory was doubly special, as he is the first truck driver in the race's history to win the competition without taking first place in any individual stages.

Team Kamaz through sandy route
The Russian, whose career began as a mechanic, was joined by teammates Ayrat Mardeev in second place and Andrey Karginov in third.

Commenting on the win, Nikolaev claimed the full weight of the extraordinary feat has yet to sink in.

Ayrat Mardeev - Kamaz driver
"All I have been concentrated on since we arrived in South America was fighting minute by minute over every kilometre I drove in our truck. To come out of that after such an intense fifteen days with the victory is something that I simply can't put into words. It's simply incredible and I'm on cloud nine right now," he said.

South Africa's Giniel de Villiers also managed an impressive performance, gaining second place in the buggy fixtures and finishing 43 minutes behind defending champion Stephane Peterhansel in his Toyota Hilux.

Unfortunately, a valiant effort in this year's Dakar Rally proved fruitless for the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team, who were forced to bow out of the competition early.

Cyril Despres - Winning Dakar '13
Kamaz - Tackling sand dunes
The early stages saw the buggy team gain and hold a triumphant lead over their competitors. Red Bull driver Carlos Sainz wasted no time in making his mark on this year's rally, hitting the fastest time on the 13km opening stage in Pisco and overcoming navigational issues to beat the pack and claim victory on day two. However, teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah - winner of the 2011 rally - was not content to let Sainz have all the glory - securing his two consecutive stage wins on days three and four.

Technical troubles plagued the team throughout Dakar 2013, forcing two-time World Rally Championship winner Sainz to drop out on day six. He was shortly followed by teammate Al-Attiyah, who bowed out of the competition on day nine due to a broken water pump.

However, the duo were not cowed by the experience and vowed to return for the 2014 event with their sights set on victory.

"Despite having such a short period of time to prepare we still managed to win five of the eight stages we completed. What we achieved at the 2013 Dakar with the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team was really remarkable and I'm so proud to have been a part of it," Al-Attiyah said.



About Cyril Despres

The moment of Glory
Yes! That is five Dakar titles for him
Born to parents who ran restaurants in his native France, Cyril looked destined to follow in the family tradition, or at least not deviate from it quite so much. However, the young wannabe took matters into his own hands when, with an entrepreneurial aptitude to make his parents proud, he got the train to Paris and bought his first bike.

In 1998, Cyril Despres started riding Enduro and in the very same year, he became the French Enduro Champion. Despite his success, money was still tight and with his greater ambition came greater expense. In 2000, in order to race in his first Dakar rally, Cyril sold 6,000 bottles of wine to raise the necessary money. The gamble paid off when he finished 16th, announcing his arrival on the extreme Enduro scene. With greater success came better races and better bikes, and in 2001 Cyril gained his first Dakar stage win.

About Eduard Nikolaev

Emotional moments - Ayrat & Eduard
The son of Russian racing superstar Valentin Nikolaev, Eduard’s route to racing trucks came via his early karting career, where he impressed KAMAZ team leader Semen Yakubov enough to earn him a place on the team as a mechanic for Dakar legend Vladimir Chagin. When KAMAZ fielded a younger team for 2011, Eduard got the call up and helped to bring home a KAMAZ 1-2-3 in the in the truck category.

About Giniel de Villiers

Since 2003, Giniel de Villiers has competed in the Dakar on both two and four wheels. The four-time South African Touring Car champion won the event in 2009 while driving for the Volkswagen team, before switching to Toyota for last year’s Dakar.

About the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Born in Qatar in 1970, Nasser al-Attiyah has enjoyed a spectacular sporting career. Not many athletes enjoy international success in more than one discipline, but Nasser has done just that. On top of his achievements as a rally driver, the Qatari has also represented his country at three Olympic Games in Skeet Shooting – taking a bronze medal at London 2012.

Co-driver Lucas Cruz 

Lucas Cruz is a graduate of the Volkswagen team that dominated the first editions of the Dakar Rally in South America. The Catalonian hails from Barcelona and has been taking on the role of co-pilot since he turned 20-years-old. For the past decade Lucas has been focusing on cross-country rallies and took part in his first Dakar Rally in 2006.

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz has made more World Rally Championship starts than any other driver. ‘El Matador’ was twice crowned WRC World Champion, taking the title for Toyota in 1990 and 1992, and was runner-up a further four times.He has notched up some spectacular podiums since switching to cross-country rally driving, including winning the 2010 Dakar Rally and the 2009 Silk Way event in Russia.

Co-driver Timo Gottschalk

Cars and motorsport have always been part of Timo’s life. During his military service he was a driver, later in life he also worked as a mechanic before earning a reputation as one of the best co-drivers within the sport of rally.Timo’s first taste of the Dakar Rally came in 2007 when he navigated on behalf of Dieter Depping. After a few races with Dieter this co-driver was then recruited by Nasser Al-Attiyah.

To find out more about Red Bull’s participation in this year’s Dakar Rally, check out the site here – www.rebull.com/dakar.

Report by Jake Oates, Custard.co.uk

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From Monte [WRC] to Latvia [ERC], Round 2 Event Details

After an exciting start of the WRC season opening, Rallye Monte-Carlo, ERC is all set for the second round of the newly congregated series. Latvia is the host of the Rally Liepāja-Ventspils, which is scheduled on 1st of February till 3rd, about 9 days away.

Loeb / Elena - MonteCarlo Podium
Last week saw three French aces, dominating the top of the series in world motorsports. Loeb in Monte, Stephane Peterhansel & Cyril Despres, in the absolutely endurance rally, the Dakar's 2013 edition. Maybe the Latvia Rally is not them again, but who knows when there are French aces there too. Bryan Bouffier and Francois Delecour are definitely going to compete and the heat is intense with the round 1 winner, Czech driver Jan Kopecky. Well, how can we forget the Austian Raimund Baumschlager, who finished the event in third.

Latvia Rally has a good 41 competitors so far, can be found here, and has 15 special stages. It is going to be similar to classic Monte style around the sea-lined roads [map], accountable for the calendar & weather.

Also, for Rally Sweden, FIA has released the registered list eligible for scoring manufacturer's points, with crew details.
  • Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, 
    • 1 Sébastien Loeb (FRA), Daniel Elena (MCO)
    • Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN)
  • Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team
    • 4 Mads Østberg (NOR), Jonas Andersson (SWE)
    • 5 Evgeny Novikov (RUS), Ilka Minor (AUT)
  • Qatar World Rally Team
    • 6 Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA)
    • 11 Thierry Neuville (BEL), Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL)
  • Volkswagen Motorsport
    • 7 Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Miikka Anttila (FIN)
    • Sébastien Ogier (FRA), Julien Ingrassia (FRA)
  • Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team
    • 10  Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE), Scott Martin (GBR)
  • Lotos Team WRC
    • 12 Michal Kosciuszko (POL), Maciej Szczepaniak (POL)
  • Jipocar Czech National Team
    • 21 Martin Prokop (CZE), Michal Ernst (CZE)
Middle east champs, Nasser Al-Attiyah in his Qatar WRT, Fiesta WRC & Khalid Al-Qassimi in his Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT, Citroen DS3 WRC return to enjoy the snow event in Rally Sweden of WRC season 2013.
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Dakar - 2013 | Winners - Cyril Despres, Marcos Patronelli, Stephane Peterhansel, Eduard Nikolaev

Day 15 - Route Map, [La Serena to Santiago, Chile]
Final leg of the 2013 edition of Dakar concluded today at Santiago, Chile.

Stage 14 - Stage Profile
On the last leg, which was much easier on the machines and the men/women alike, compared to its last 13 day's of action. Action started with 121 km of a pre-stage road section, 346 km of Special and final 158 km of the last transport section to mark an epic end to the 2013 Dakar Rally-Raid. The stage was mix of climbs/descends and a final longer descending part to mark the end of competition at Santiago.

Bikes / Quads

Cyril Despres - Winner [Bikes]
Frenchman on his KTM 450 Dakar Bike - Cyril Despres taking the top honors with his fifth Dakar win. Chaleco Lopez finished 3rd overall, as he received 15m penalty since he had to get an engine replacement for his bike, the gearbox lost its 4th cog in Stage 13 yesterday. Portuguese rider Ruben Faria, [Cyril's team-mate] finished 2nd overall in his KTM.
Marcos Patronelli - Winner [Quads]

In Quads, Yamaha dominated with a strong top 3 finish with, Argentinian - Marcos Patronelli clinching his second win [first in 2010] on his Yamaha Raptor, while Chilean - Ignacio Nicolas Casale finished in second and Polish - Rafal Sonik taking the final third podium.

It was a clean top 5 sweeping finish for KTM bikes, but it is top 3 finish that make Yamaha the leader in Quads this year.

Cars / Trucks

Stephane Peterhansel - Winner [Cars]
Once again it was the Legendary-Frenchman, Stephane Peterhansel who took to top step on the podium for Cars in his X-Raid, Monster Energy Mini All4 Racing car and adding another to his already record 10 Dakar victories, since his first in 1991 on Yamaha Motorbike.

Eduard Nikolaev - Winner [Trucks]
Giniel De-Villiers couldn't be a match to the legend and finished second on the podium in his Toyota Hilux, while another Mini driver, Russian Leonid Novistkiy took the final podium spot.

Russian Eduard Nikolaev won the trucks category in his Kamaz and his other team-mates, Aryat Mardeev and Andrey Karginov, took a clean 1,2,3 finish for the Kamaz factory team.
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Master' Loeb, wins Rallye Monte-Carlo | WRC - 2013

Loeb - the master, decides to take his 77th WRC rally win, home! Ever since he started his dominance of the event after SS-2, he was untouchable by the best-of-the-best young drivers out there. No-more explanation is necessary to explain his series-9-title-wins. He first braved the 'younger' Seb in the new VW Polo R WRC, then the treacherous stages, braved the ever changing and worsening weather where the young guns crashed.

The last two stages, SS-17 & SS-18 were cancelled due to bad weather, and it was in the super freezing night stages. Very acceptable, 4sure!!

We are in an helpless condition and in 'awe', so we decide to just congratulate you both and decide to hit our sacks, back home. Congratulations Seb! You are the finesse.. and unbelievable.. and one one just last [obvious] question. Are you not an alien? or 'for sure' :) [: no pun intended :]

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