Sunday, May 19, 2024

Nasser Al-Attiyah: T3 an “amazing car”, “much better” for young drivers

As T1 is the highest class in rally raid, Nasser Al-Attiyah would prefer if youngsters and drivers new to the discipline take it one step at a time by first competing in the side-by-side categories like T3 or T4. This belief was solidified on Sunday when he tested a T3 car shortly after winning the Baja España Aragón.

Al-Attiyah drove an MCE-5 T3M owned by Wevers Sport in his test, which he called “fantastic. The T3 was an amazing car and really nice machine.

“I think for young drivers and new generation, it’d be much better for them. I know everyone’s dream is to be in T1+; this is wrong to jump immediately. I think you need to win and you need to compete in T3 and then you can (move up), step by step, but this is a good machine to start.”

While T3 and T4 are both for SSVs, the former is reserved for Light Prototypes that are specifically built for racing whereas T4 is for production cars. Generally, upstart drivers enter the World Rally-Raid Championship (or any similar series) from T4 before graduating to T3 as is the case with Dakar Rally T4 winner Eryk Goczał; current T4 points leader and defending class champion Rokas Baciuška is also prioritising a move to T3 for 2024 despite racing a T1+ at the Baja Aragón and being competitive. Success in T3 can lead to an opportunity in T1 (T2 is a production class that rarely gets more than a handful of entries) such as Aliyyah Koloc, who despite her youth is the reigning FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas champion and already drives a T1+ in the South Africa Rally-Raid Championship.

The T3M is a Light Prototype car by MCE-5 Development, with Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team’s Mitch Guthrie being its lead W2RC driver as he ranks third in T3. Wevers will field two T3Ms at the next W2RC round in Argentina while BBR Motorsport will start doing so at the Rallye du Maroc in October. Guthrie and Laia Sanz raced T3Ms at the Baja Aragón, both prepared by Wevers.

Al-Attiyah currently leads the W2RC as a T1+ driver, having won the 2022 championship and the last two Dakar Rallies. He also leads the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas after winning at Aragón.

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