Qatar’s esteemed rally driver Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah has made a sensational return to Overdrive Racing and will drive a Toyota Hilux for the Belgian team in the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and Sealine Cross-Country Rally, rounds two and three of the 2016 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup.
Al-Attiyah drove for the team in 2012 and won the Sealine Cross-Country Rally in an Overdrive Toyota, one season after taking the first of his two Dakar Rally titles. He will be bidding for a fourth victory in five years on the Sealine event and a third successive win with French navigator Matthieu Baumel.
The Qatari is combining a programme of events in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) with select rounds of the FIA World Cup that do not clash with preparations to represent the State of Qatar in the skeet shooting discipline at the Olympic Games in Rio this summer. Al-Attiyah won a bronze medal four years ago at the Olympic Games in London.
Nasser, 45, is currently preparing to take part in next weekend’s Kuwait International Rally before switching his attention to preparations for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge on April 2-7 and the Sealine event in his native Qatar on April 18-22.
“Everyone at Overdrive is delighted to welcome Nasser back for two of the most demanding rallies in the FIA World Cup calendar,” said Overdrive Racing’s team director Jean-Marc Fortin. “We have many happy memories of working with him in the past and look forward to supporting him, as he and Matthieu try and win the first two desert rounds of this year’s FIA World Cup.”
The winner of a record-breaking 61 rounds of the MERC and 11 regional titles, Al-Attiyah is also a two-time winner of the WRC 2 category in the FIA World Rally Championship and the only Arab driver ever to win the PWRC title.
Taking victory in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is one success that has eluded Overdrive Racing thus far despite the fact the team has taken wins on nearly all of the other rounds of the FIA World Cup. Al-Attiyah is keen to add to the single victory he achieved back in 2008 with Swedish navigator Tina Thörner.
His campaign with Overdrive Racing gets underway with a short super special stage at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge on April 2.