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Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah stamped his authority on the 33rd Dubai International Rally today with a stunning second leg display which saw him win the event, and the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, for the seventh time.

A breathtaking surge by the dashing Qatari in his Ford Fiesta S2000 saw him set the fastest times on each of the day’s six special stages to end Rashid Al Ketbi’s brave bid for a home victory over UAE National Day weekend.

Overnight leader Al Ketbi produced another immaculate drive in his Skoda Fabia S2000, but was ultimately powerless to prevent Al Attiyah from successfully defending his Dubai Rally title as he  fought back from a difficult first leg which he had finished in fourth spot, 46.9 seconds off the lead.

He reached the finish holding a winning margin of  37.7 seconds from Al Ketbi, with another UAE driver, Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi, just nine seconds further away in third place.

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Phil McGovern