Seashore Qatar Rally Team’s Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari will progress to the Ford Fiesta RS WRC for next month’s RACC Rally de España. Becoming accustomed to piloting his Ford Fiesta RRC to the top-step of the podium in this year’s WRC 2 category, the Spanish fixture will see the Qatari take to the wheel of M-Sport’s top-specification Fiesta for the first time in competition.
Partnered by Irish co-driver Killian Duffy, the pairing have competed at the head of the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series for much of the year. With three victories under their belt – in Mexico, Argentina and Australia respectively – the pairing are currently leading WRC 2 by 17 points.
Although returning to the Fiesta RRC for his final WRC 2 point-scoring event at Wales Rally GB, the Qatari’s impressive performances to date have helped facilitate an additional outing in the world series – this time with M-Sport’s record-breaking Fiesta RS WRC.
The competition will be tough, but thanks to some inspiring performances thus far, the pairing will be well prepared. With two previous outings at the WRC’s highest level, the Qatari is one of a handful of drivers to boast a championship point from a competitive debut when he secured tenth place overall on his maiden WRC event at the 2012 Acropolis Rally.
With a working knowledge of the Fiesta in its RRC guise, Al-Kuwari should not be discounted for a strong result and will be a real contender for a point-scoring finish as he takes to the mixed surface stages of Rally de España.
Abdulaziz Al-Kuwai said:
“It’s a great feeling to know that I will be driving the [Ford] Fiesta RS WRC in Spain. The decision was made as early as after our WRC 2 win in Argentina. I received a call from Seashore Qatar Rally Team’s owner – Mr. Salim Al-Mhannadi – telling me that I would have at least one rally behind the wheel of a Fiesta RS WRC this season as reward for our hard work and good results. I would like to thank him very much for this opportunity.”
“This car is much faster than the [Ford] Fiesta RRC I am used to so we will need some time to get used to it. Our first goal is always to finish all the stages and make it to the finish ramp. Of course a top 10 finish would be fantastic, and if I’m honest, I really want to beat my best result of 10th place overall.
“That said, we’ll be back in the [Fiesta] RRC for Wales Rally GB as our focus is very much centred on the WRC 2 championship which we are currently leading. We’ll have to wait and see what lies in store for next year, but I am a very ambitious guy so if my sponsor decides to go for a full WRC program, I will be ready as always.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I would like to thank Seashore for their continued support and for helping secure the deal with M-Sport. With M-Sport I really feel that I am driving for the best team in the world. Our season has been trouble free and everyone is striving towards the one goal – to win. Working with M-Sport is like being part of one big supportive family.”
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“We have seen some very impressive performances from Abdulaziz [Al-Kuwari] this year, so the next logical step was for him to take to the wheel of the Ford Fiesta RS WRC. It will be a challenging event with a lot of very quick drivers behind the wheel of some top-specification cars, but Abdulaziz and Killian [Duffy, co-driver] are more than capable of securing a good result.
“I am delighted that M-Sport have been able to offer the Seashore Qatar Rally Team this opportunity, and I look forward to seeing how they progress on their competitive debut with the car.”