International Motorsports Roundup For January 2013
* The Fiesta RS WRC made an impressive start to this year’s FIA World Rally Championship at Rallye Monte-Carlo. All four M-Sport run cars – driven by Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson, Evgeny Novikov / Ilka Minor, Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul and Juho Hänninen / Tomi Tuominen – set a fastest time during the legendary four-day event, held in treacherous conditions that saw competitors battling intermittent ice and snow. Østberg was the only one to finish, taking a solid sixth place. Novikov was on-course for the podium until he was caught out by the conditions on the final day, while Neuville and Hänninen also crashed out.
* Driving an Autotek-prepared Fiesta RRC, Nasser Al-Attiyah claimed a record-breaking 10th Qatar International Rally victory in the opening round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC). Co-driven by Giovanni Bernacchini, Al-Attiyah was forced to work hard for his 46th career MERC win following a close see-saw duel. Defending rally winner Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and co-driver Killian Duffy defeated Khalid Al-Suwaidi / Nicola Arena for the final podium spot, both in Fiesta RRCs. Fellow Fiesta duo Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi / Steve Lancaster were fifth, ahead of Yazeed Al-Rajhi / Michael Orr who recovered to sixth after retiring from the lead on the opening day and resorting to SupeRally to continue.
* Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Ola Floene guided their Fiesta RS WRC to victory in the Tractive Winter Sprint in Sweden ahead of Hasse Gustafsson / Mikael Johansson in a similar car in second. Both crews will pilot a Fiesta RS WRC in Rally Sweden, the second round of the World Rally Championship in February.