- Title: QATAR/FILE: Qatar rally driver pushes on with his championship drive
- Date: 16th October 2007
- Summary: (MER1) LUSAIL, QATAR (RECENT) (REUTERS) RALLY DRIVER NASSER BIN SALEH AL-ATTIYAH HEADING TO HIS CAR VARIOUS OF AL-ATTIYAH PUTTING ON HIS SHOES AL-ATTIYAH PUTTING HIS RACING UNIFORM ON AL-ATTIYAH ADJUSTING HIS SEAT BELT AL-ATTIYAH FASTENING HIS SEAT BELT AL-ATTIYAH'S FACE AL-ATTIYAH'S CAR STARTING UP AL-ATTIYAH'S CAR REVERSING
- Embargoed: 31st October 2007 12:00
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA2DSNAWLEG0KGD6DKOUR2G0XN8
- Story Text: Nasser Al-Attiyah, a Qatari rally car driver who has been successful in some of the world's biggest competitions, is seen by many as a champion in Qatar and across the Middle East, despite recent setbacks.
Reigning FIA production car world rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah is becoming known across the region as one of the most skilled and successful sportsmen of the Middle East.
The 37-year-old Al-Attiyah said he began rally driving in 1989 at a time when mechanic sports were not respected in his home country and the Qatar Motor and Motor cycle federation was not even established yet.
These difficulties, says the young talent, did not prevent him from achieving good results in local competitions.
"I liked this sport since I was young. After finishing school I came back to practicing it. At that time car racing didn't have the support of officials and sponsors. I decided to participate in local rallies for five years, from 1990 to 1995, and thank God I won all the rounds at that time," said Al-Attiyah.
After winning the Middle East Rally Championship three times and the FIA Production Car WRC in 2006, Al-Attiyah is always looking for new challenges.
"The world championship differs completely from the Middle East championship. In the Middle East championship the driver feels comfortable because most of the race routes are in open spaces. I don't like driving in open spaces because there is no challenge, which means that anybody can drive through it," Al-Attiyah said, referring to the narrow lanes or routes used in the world championship that demands more from the driver and comparing it with the open desert used in the Middle East championship.
Car racing is not the only sport that Al-Attiyah is successful in. Last month he won the gold medal at Qatar's national championship for skeet shooting organized by Qatar shooting federation In 2006 he won first place, in the Singles at the Asian Championship for skeet shooting in Singapore.
"The federation supports the young drivers by organizing a lot of activities locally, internationally, and on a Middle Eastern level. We study the capabilities of young drivers and the one who has the required talent and ambition wins the support of the federation to become a champion, like Nasser Bin Saleh Al-Attiyah," said Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah the president of Qatar Motor and Motor Cycle Federation.
Nasser Al-Attiyah was forced to pull out of Rally New Zealand in recent months due to a head injury he suffered while filming a promotional video.
This was the latest incident in a season of ill-fortune for Al-Attiyah, who has failed to finish two of his four starts this year.
Despite these unfortunate incidents, Nasser Bin Saleh Al-Attiyah is not giving up, and vows to continue with the sports he loves.
"There will come a time when I stop racing and participating in shooting competitions, but I intend to make use of this time. Most of the sportsmen move away from sports all together after quitting. I think this is totally wrong. I will not keep my expertise for myself. I want to bring up new generations in the car racing and shooting sports."
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