An overnight 30-minute time penalty obliterated Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah’s chance of winning his home event for an 18th time but the Qatari and his co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini pushed hard to climb through the tail end of the field. Nasser made it as far as ninth overall but the finish in Lusail Boulevard was a bridge too far and the winner of three stages broke a damper and retired on the last stage to cap a complicated weekend.
Al-Attiyah said: “I was really disappointed with the decision (time penalty). It was completely wrong. We couldn’t really stop in the middle of the highway otherwise someone could hit you. We decided to move. I’am really disappointed. It is not a professional way. We tried to make some good points. I did my best to jump at least two or three positions and to have a good time”.
Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini have incurred a time penalty that ruined their chance of winning this year’s Qatar International Rally 2024.
The Qatari was reportedly seen driving on the road section from the fourth stage to the service area and regroup in Lusail with only three rotating wheels on his Volkswagen Polo GTi after he had collected a puncture.
Event Stewards met to discuss the matter in detail and determined that the multiple FIA Middle East Rally Champion was considered to have retired from the leg after Special Stages number four.
Earlier, Al Attiyah and Bernacchini held a slender lead of 5.6 seconds, but the 30-minute penalty for missing the remaining three stages of the loop means that the French crew of Pierre-Louis Loubet and Loris Pascaud will now take a lead.
Al Attiyah, meanwhile, plummeted to the foot of the general classification as a result of the penalty but he will restart under the Rally2 ruling this morning.
The Qatari has the right to appeal against the Stewards’ decision.
After ten years, the couple Nasser Salih Al-Attiyah and Giovanni Bernacchini are reunited for the Qatar Rally.
Precisely for the first race of the MERC 2024 Middle Eastern Rally Championship, the two-time World Champion (WRC2 2014 and 2015) Nasser Salih Al-Attiyah, just got back from a withdrawal at the Paris-Dakar, recalls world co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini to the right seat.
Victory for Henning Solberg and Giovanni Bernacchini at the Rallye Isla de los Volcanes in Lanzarote with the Citroen C3 of the Sports&You team.
The victory was by no means easy, considering that Juan Carlos Quintana and Yeray Mujica with a Skoda Fabia Rally2 put the Norwegian in serious difficulty. The Gran Canarian team led the race up to the fourth Special Stage and then gave in to the pressure of Solberg and Bernacchini.
The final gap between the two drivers was 2.9 seconds.
Nicolas Ciamin and Yannick Roche, with the Hyundai i20 Rally2, won the 68th Rallye du Var, the last round of the French Asphalt Championship, in Sainte-Maxime.
The 2C Competition standard-bearer dominated his home race from start to finish, maintaining the lead for the entire duration of the rally, with the exception of Special Stages three and four, in which the lead was taken by Yoann Bonato.
Last test on the eve of the last race of the season. Organized by L2MS Speed Advisor, on the road of the Special Stage “Lago di Antrona”, in the Municipality of Antrona Piana in the province of Verbania (Italy), the last setups of the eight crews participating in the Italian Rally Junior Championship disputed with the Renault Clio Rally5 managed by Motorsport Italia.
In fact, the classification of the “Rally Due Valli” in Verona will be decisive for the awarding of the title of Italian Junior Champion.