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Nasser Al-Attiyah: Why I switched to the Fabia RS Rally2

Qatari racer Nasser Al-Attiyah is a living sports legend in his own way. He has been involved in classic rallies, long-distance rallies, but also sport shooting. And in all these disciplines, he ranks among the wider elite. At the age of 53, he certainly does not want to give up his sporting career. On the contrary, this year he will sit behind the wheel of the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 special.

The new Fabia RS Rally2 has literally bewitched the Qatari sports all-rounder Nasser Al-Attiyah. So much so, he says, that he decided to sell his other racing cars. This year, the champion of the steering wheel, who has won the legendary Dakar Rally five times and the WRC2 championship in 2014 and 2015, will try to win the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) with his new car. It would be his 20th triumph in the series.

What attracted you to the Fabia RS Rally2?
It´s about the manufacturer itself. As I observe it, I can see that Škoda Motorsport is working a lot on the car and is constantly developing it and pushing it forward. We also have a long-standing good relationship with the carmaker, so I decided to sit in the Fabia RS Rally2 for this year. I think we have a good chance of winning the Middle East Rally Championship with this car.

When did you drive the new car for the first time?
I was able to test the car after the end of this year's Qatar International Rally, which the car won, among other things. I took part in a short test, and I was really impressed with the car, it works great and has really strong points.

What are your plans for the car this season?
We want to drive it for the first time in May at the Jordan Rally. And our goal after this change is to attack the top ranks and the MERC championship title again. It would be my 20th triumph and it would be great to achieve it with the Fabia.

You already have experience with Škoda cars, in 2015 you raced a Fabia R5, among other things. How do you remember that car?
It was a great car that helped me win the WRC2 title back then. So, of course, I remember it fondly. But now that I've tried the new Fabia RS Rally2, I have to say that it's something completely different. The change is huge, even compared to existing cars. That's also why I've decided to sell my other racing cars and I'm going to focus on competing with the Fabia.

What do you enjoy about the current WRC2 cars?
The main thing is that it's basically quite affordable racing and a category in which you can compete literally all over the world. This category gets a lot of good and ambitious drivers behind the wheel.

You also have experience with older cars of the highest WRC specification. Can WRC2 cars be compared to them?
They can, and honestly, the difference is impressive. The new cars are very fast, great to drive, and at the same time significantly more affordable than the old WRC specials I know from ten years ago. They are extremely fun cars and they make for a very entertaining category.

What do you like about rallying in general?
Rallying gives me a certain sense of freedom. And of course, it's a great passion for me. I love motorsport, and thanks to the cars that are available now, I am still involved in it, and I want to continue.

In addition to classic rallies, you also compete in long-distance ones, especially the Dakar Rally. What are the biggest differences between these disciplines?
Honestly, it's something else entirely. Both the competitions themselves and the cars. In long-distance rallies, the stages are much longer, we race for 8 hours straight. Classic rallies, on the other hand, are a kind of sprint. The difference is also brought by the need to approach the competitions differently. In rallying, you must be precise and fast from the very beginning, you can't really make mistakes.

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Skoda Motorsport


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