Former PWRC champion and Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah has put together the financial package required for Qatar to take title sponsorship of the M-Sport squad in next year’s WRC. A three-car squad of Fiestas will be entered in the WRC, with Al-Attiyah also contesting the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.
Al-Attiyah and Qatar have had a relationship with Citroën Racing this season, but the emirate of Abu Dhabi will partner the French marque in 2013. Initially it was believed that Al-Attiyah would have to call time on his WRC ambitions, but Ford’s withdrawal from the WRC meant that the squad of Fiestas came on the market at an appropriate price.
The Qatar deal is not believed to have any impact on M-Sport team boss Malcolm Wilson’s requirement that potential drivers for 2013 should be prepared to bring funding with them. This has put 2003 world champion Petter Solberg’s seat in jeopardy, as he has stated this weekend that he will happily drive without taking a salary but will not pay the team for his position.
A confirmed driver line-up for the 2013 Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team is expected next Monday.