Qatar’s Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah and French co-driver Mathieu Baumel edge clear after late drama for Meeke

Gulf Times 31/01/2021

Defending regional champion Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah took full advantage of late problems for Ulsterman Kris Meeke to hammer home his advantage after a fascinating four gravel special stages of the Qatar International Rally yesterday.
The two rivals shared a pair of stage wins apiece through the northern deserts and were separated by 10.3 seconds before the last action of the day. Meeke and English navigator Sebastian Marshall damaged the underside of their Skoda Fabia R5 after a heavy landing over a jump and were forced to stop after the stage.
The actual time loss was only 46.9 seconds, but the radiator had failed after the impact and damaged the intercooler. Rather than risk damaging the engine more seriously, Meeke stopped the Fabia on the road section and had to be towed back to Losail with hefty time penalties later awarded that will drop him down to sixth place on today’s restart under Rally2 rules.

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