The Qatari ace, who won the bronze medal in the skeet shooting section of the London 2012 Olympics and triumphed on the first Cyprus Rally to count towards the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2010, will be one of the favourites for victory in his Autotek Motorsport M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC.
“This is a really nice rally but it’s a very hard rally, especially the 30-kilometre [Panayia] stage,” said Al-Attiyah. “When you have gravel and asphalt stages it’s more challenging for the driver because you are having to think more about the cars and the tyres.”
Al-Attiyah completed a pre-event test in Cyprus on Monday, when he covered 100 kilometres near Anadiou. “The test was good but for this rally I am expecting a tough fight with Andreas Mikkelsen,” said Al-Attiyah. “I also need to think about the Middle East championship. I need to get 25 points from this event so I can go to the final round in a good way.”
Meanwhile, the Cyprus Rally organisers have confirmed that Al-Attiyah has set aside some of his own sponsorship to partly fund this week’s event. “The Cyprus Automobile Association, the organiser of the Cyprus Rally, extends its thanks to Nasser Al-Attiyah for his generous support and for helping ensure that this weekend’s event enjoys the best possible coverage,” read a statement.
The Cyprus Rally begins with Pafos Super Special Stage at 19:00hrs on Friday 2 November.