Qatari rally driver Nasser Al-Attiyah won the FIA Middle East Rally Championship through a court ruling in which the International Automobile Federation (FIA) deducted 30 seconds from the time recorded for Khaled Al Qassimi following an appeal raised against the integrity of Al Qassimi’s winning the Middle East Rally Championship on 29 November.
Al Attiyah claimed that Al Qassimi changed routes during the rally. However, these claims were overruled, leading him to the court of appeals of the FIA, which eventually declared that the Emirati driver committed a direct violation, revoked his title, and awarded it to Al-Attiyah.
In a press release, Al Qassimi strongly criticised this decision, saying that “the appeal has gone too far in favor of Al-Attiyah in the Dubai Rally, and the recorded time proves this. I know that I was faster and that I was the winner in most of the rally stages. I feel that the court of appeals decree is unfair to me and the team and I am not happy with it”.
He added: “I have repeatedly demanded that cameras be placed inside the race cars during the championship in order to monitor drivers’ routes in each stage, but my request was not taken into consideration.”
It is of note that the Dubai Rally Championship began in November, under the International Rally Championships of 2014.