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MENAFN - Qatar News Agency - 23/03/2014
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(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini won the 22nd Kuwait International Rally, round two of the 2014 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), which finished in Fintas on Saturday. Nasser began the day with a lead of 12.5sec and won four of the second leg's six stages to reach the finish with a winning margin of 27.5 seconds. It was the Qatari's 52nd MERC win and his co-driver's 23rd. The Ford Fiesta RRC crew now lead their respective championship categories by 17 points after two rounds. "I was looking forward to the stages on the second day," said Nasser, who equalled Mohammed bin Sulayem's record of four wins in Kuwait. "They were not as fast and straight, more technical and twistier and more enjoyable to drive. Like last year, I felt that they would suit my car better. I was confident that I could extend my lead and win today." Driving a Citroen DS3 RRC, Abu Dhabi Racing's Shaikh Khalid Al Qassimi was the class of the rest of the field, but he did not quite have the pace to match Nasser. Nevertheless, the Abu Dhabi driver finished 1min 44.8sec in front of the third-placed Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi, who was joint quickest with Nasser on one stage. Al Qassimi came under severe pressure from the charging Kuwaiti Salah bin Eidan over the final day. A lead of 47.3sec was reduced to 29.5sec after SS10, 24.5sec after SS11 and 16.0sec with one stage to go, but the Sharjah driver held on to confirm fourth position on his first MERC event with French female co-driver Catherine Derousseaux. After losing substantial time with boost issues on Friday, there was no way back for Abdulaziz Al Kuwari and the Qatari finished in sixth place, despite a bent suspension arm. His uncle Abdullah Al Kuwari recovered from a four-minute time penalty for losing his way on the second stage to reach Fintas in seventh. Eighth-placed Khalifa Al-Attiyah the brother of event winner Nasser comfortably won the Group N category in his QMMF-backed Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. The talented young Emirati Mohamed Al-Mutawee dominated the Abu Dhabi Racing-Citroen Middle East Trophy and finished the event 2min 05.6sec in front of Mohamed Al-Sahlawi to claim his second successive 2WD Junior class win. Germany's Edith Weiss and Qatar's Nada Zeidan battled hard at the rear of the field and it was Weiss who reached Fintas as the leading female driver in 15thoveral

 


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