Dubai: Middle East rally star Nasser Al Attiyah will join Shaikh Hassan Bin Jaber Al Thani in the Qatar Team as he makes his powerboating debut at November’s Key West World Championships in Florida.
Shaikh Hassan, President, Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), confirmed that Al Attiyah will team up with his former Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini and enter the Key West races in a Mercury-engined set-up boat. There are three races during the Key West festival, which takes place from November 3-10.
Shaikh Hassan clinched the Key West World Championship title along with former Class One world champion Steve Curtis last year. “He [Al Attiyah] has been a great ambassador for motor sport and Qatar in recent years for his remarkable achievements in rally cars and we are both looking forward to Key West and the challenges that lie ahead for both of us. Nasser is excited about the new challenge and, in Matteo, he has an experienced team-mate to help him learn the ropes,” remarked Shaikh Hassan.
Al Attiyah is the most successful Arab rally driver of all time. An outright winner of the punishing Dakar Rally in 2011, the Qatari has also won 48 FIA Middle East Rally Championship events, eight regional titles in the past ten years and numerous cross-country rallies around the globe.
The Qatari also won the FIA Production World Rally Championship in 2006 and the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in 2008. His career-best finish in the FIA World Rally Championship was fourth in the Rally of Portugal.
Away from rally driving, Al Attiyah is a keen follower of many forms of sport and is also a prolific shooter. He represented Qatar at the 2004 Olympic Games in clay pigeon shooting and came fourth. At London 2012, he won the bronze medal for Qatar after a shoot-off against Valeriy Shomin and he has also featured strongly in several Asian Games.
The QMSF-backed Qatar Team is hoping to field three boats at the Key West World Championships in November.