NASSER AL-ATTIYAH & THIERRY NEUVILLE LOOK TO SCALE NEW HEIGHTS
- Nasser Al-Attiyah competing in his fifth rally in a World Rally Car
- Neuville: ‘The Acropolis Rally is a very difficult round, with rougher gravel than anywhere else on the calendar.’
After finishing in the points in the last few rallies, the Nasser Al-Attiyah/Giovanni Bernacchini (Qatar WRT) and Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Citroën Junior WRT) crews head into the Acropolis Rally looking to achieve more of the same. On one of the most demanding courses of the season, the DS3 WRC drivers will be aiming to build on the progress they have made in climbing up the ranks of the FIA World Rally Championship.
The Acropolis Rally has featured on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar since it was created and over the years has maintained its reputation as a particularly difficult test. Run on roads either side of the Corinth Canal, the Greek stages offer drivers a multi-faceted test. Once again this year, the rally and its warm, summery conditions will present the men and their machines with a stern challenge.
Considered to be an experienced driver, Nasser Al-Attiyah will actually only be competing in his fifth rally in a World Rally Car. Although he is still learning about the car, the Qatari has already shown a lot of potential. In the points in the last three rallies, he is only behind Loeb, Hirvonen, Solberg and Ostberg in total points scored on the gravel rallies.
“We are on a good run, with good performances in Mexico, Portugal and Argentina,” reiterated Nasser. “I was disappointed not to have had done better in Argentina, but we showed that we can mix it with the leaders.”
“The Acropolis Rally is a difficult rally,” he continued. “My experience on rough gravel rallies will be an advantage, although I know that the pace will be very strong at the front. My goal is to achieve the best possible result. I’d be more than happy to finish in the top 5, whilst narrowing the gap to the leaders!”
Equally making good progress, Thierry Neuville has finished in the points on two occasions, with eighth place in Portugal and fifth position – a career best to date – in Argentina. In what will be his sixth rally in a DS3 WRC and his first experience of the Acropolis Rally, the Belgian knows that he is taking on a legendary event in the world of rallying.
“It’s great to have finished in the points in the last two events, but I hope from now on I can make it to the end without having to use the Rally2 rules. I need to produce the kind of performance that can act as a benchmark for the rest of the season,” emphasised Thierry. “We have already learned a lot in the first five rallies, especially in Portugal and Argentina, on really difficult surfaces. For Greece, my challenge is to complete the twenty-two stages. The Acropolis Rally is a very difficult round, with rougher gravel than anywhere else on the calendar. But the leaders will nonetheless be imposing a very strong pace. Our job will be to get the balance right, in order to acquire as much experience as possible”