Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah kept his Middle East Rally Championship title hopes alive with a victory at the Jordan Rally.
Qatari's MERC title hopes stay alive with win at Jordan Rally
DEAD SEA, JORDAN // Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah secured a hard-earned sixth victory in the Jordan Rally, the fourth round of the 2012 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), which finished at the Dead Sea on Saturday.
It was a 43rd MERC career success for Al Attiyah, partnered by Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini, but he was pressured all day by the Lebanese driver Roger Feghali.
A 10-second penalty for a jump-start cost the 10-time Lebanon Rally winner and he settled for second position in his Motortune Ford Fiesta S2000 after winning five of the 16 timed special stages.
The winning margin was 34.7 seconds for Al Attiyah, the 2011 Dakar Rally winner who also won a bronze medal in the skeet at the London Olympics.
"This was a fantastic rally and I enjoyed a great competition with Roger and Yazeed," said Al Attiyah, who won six special stages.
"It was never going to be easy to win from the front when I was cleaning the roads, but I had a good lead overnight and I managed to drive well today.
"Now I am in a good position with the championship."
Qatar's Abdulaziz Al Kuwari maintained his advantage in the championship with a fourth-placed finish in his Mini S2000.
He leads Al Attiyah and Feghali by nine points.
The UAE's Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi used the event as a shakedown before a full programme of events in 2013.
In an unbranded Ford Fiesta, the Emirati managed to finish fifth with British co-driver Marshall Clarke and had no recurring problems after recent leg and knee surgery.
Sharjah's Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi finished seventh.
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