LIVING up to his favourite’s tag, Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah won the second round of Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) in Jordan to stay in firm contention for his 13th regional crown.
It was the perfect result for the ace Qatari and his French navigator Matthieu Baumel after their retirement in the first round at home in February.
Driving a Ford Fiesta R5 Evo 2 for the first time in the series, Nasser finished a staggering 16min, 9.3sec ahead of local driver Marouf Abu Samra.
Kuwait’s Meshari Al Thefiri finished third to lead the championship with 53 points, seven ahead of Nasser.
The next round will be held in Cyprus from June 16 to 18.
Jordan has always been a happy hunting ground for Nasser and the latest win was his 11th in that country and 64th in MERC history.
Baumel has now taken 13 as a co-driver.
“The car was fantastic, no issues at all and I was able to control my pace and I did not have to take any risks,” said Nasser, who won all the special stages just like last year.
Based around Dead Sea (the lowest point on the earth at over 400M below sea level), the former round of World Rally Championship is seen as the toughest round of MERC and Nasser was quick to acknowledge that.
“Jordan is one of the strongest events on MERC calendar. It has a proud tradition and I’m happy to win here again,” added Nasser, who had very limited time to test his new car due to the late arrival of the vehicle.