Nasser Al-Attiyah & Mathieu Baumel are reigning champs at the Hungarian Baja
The Qatar Rally Team have set up camp in the Hungarian countryside as they prepare for their latest assault on the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup leaderboard. If Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel can repeat last year’s triumph at the Hungarian Baja they will take an outright lead in the championship.
The defending champions in Hungary will look to get their season back on track after a forced retirement during their last outing at the Baja Aragón. The Qatar Rally Team will want to return to winnings ways in a year that has already seen them score wins at the Dakar Rally, WRC2 events and previous Cross-Country World Cup and Middle East Championship rallies.
The 30 championship points on offer for a win at the Hungarian Baja would see Nasser and Mathieu leapfrog current series leader Vladimir Vasilyev who they currently trail by 21 points.
This 7th round of the 2015 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup sees the Qatar Rally Team once again take control of their flying Red Bull Mini. The route appears similar to the one successfully navigated by Nasser and Mathieu 12 months ago with rocks, gravel and dust a familiar theme throughout.
Race fans in Hungary will get their first taste of action tonight as the international class of car competitors contest a 2.5km prologue stage. This sprint will determine the starting order for Saturday’s 172km of timed racing before the same stage is repeated back to front on Sunday. Last year Nasser and Mathieu provided a thrilling conclusion to the Hungarian Baja as they snatched an overall victory during the final few kilometres of the race.
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “The Hungarian Baja was one of the most exciting races we did during last season so I’m feeling really good to be back here again. This is a challenging event, but if we work hard I’m confident we can defend our title and pick up another win.”
“It was of course disappointing not to get the result we wanted at the Baja Aragón, but the Cross-Country Rally World Cup is a long season and we now have the chance to get back to winning ways. If we execute our plan well then I’m sure the team will be celebrating a great result at the end of this race.”
Mathieu Baumel: “We know this place very well because we have raced here many times. The course looks slightly less stoney than normal so hopefully that helps us to prevent punctures. What there will be is lots of bumps and crests so this will be something we have to manage.”
“We will use last year’s experience to help us out as much as possible. Because we will repeat the long stage on Sunday it’s a good chance to take lots of pace notes on Saturday to help us to be fast on the second pass.”
“I’m glad we have this race so quickly after what happened in Spain because we want to get back that winning feeling. At this race it’s important that we don’t take big risks because we want to finish and we want to finish well.”