The Qatari of Overdrive Racing clinched the victory with a fantastic comeback strengthening the leadership in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
Overdrive Racing’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel delivered a sensational final stage to seal a dramatic victory in Spain’s Baja Aragon, round seven of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, in Teruel last weekend.
Trailing overnight leader Mikko Hirvonen at the start of the stage by 11 seconds, Al-Attiyah threw caution to the wind to win the final stage by 2min 25sec and seal a second successive victory for Overdrive Racing and Toyota on Europe’s leading Baja event. The result also strengthened the Qatar’s grip on the FIA World Cup in a virtual carbon copy repeat of the stage performance he put in last year to win the event for a second time.
Orlando Terranova on Mini All4Road ranked second, two minutes and thirty-five seconds behind the Qatari, while Mikko Hirvonen on Mini completed the podium, after he had closed Saturday as the race leader.
The fourth place went to Spaniard Nani Roma – five-time winner of the event – who suffered a puncture on Saturday missing the chance to step on the podium. South African Leeroy Poulter tackled the event for the first time a Toyota GAZOO Racing South Africa car delivering an impressive performance to reach Teruel in fifth position after overhauling Al Attiyah’s closest title rival Jakub Przygonski on the final stage.
The fourth and final section of the rally took place on Sunday morning and ran for 184.05km between Barrachina and Caude before the ceremonial finish in Teruel. Hirvonen carded the target time of 2hrs 14min 34sec, but he was beaten by 52 seconds by Terranova who moved 31 seconds in front of the Finn in the overall standings. All eyes were on Al Attiyah’s stage time and the Qatari didn’t disappoint. He crossed the finish line in 2hrs 11min 17sec to storm to the top of the leader board and claim a second successive victory in Spain for Overdrive Racing and Toyota.
“My style of driving is to attack if we need it and try not to make many mistakes,” said the winner at the end of the race. “Winning with more than two minutes over the second is a great result. Our Toyota worked very well, my co-driver worked very well. I also did a good job and we are all happy. I’ll be back next year to win.”