In top gear
An interlude from the business agenda at Doha GOALS, two sporting super stars, one of them Qatari, excited considerable interest during an interview with nine-time Citroen World Rally Champion, Frenchman Sebastien Loeb, alongside Nasser Al-Attiyah, winner of the Dakar Rally last year as well as an Olympic bronze medallist in skeet shooting.
Breaking news was the potential for Qatar to sponsor two cars in the GT3 car championships in future, one driven by Al-Attiyah and the other by Loeb who is dialling back from his rally pursuits to move further in to World Touring Car and GT3 racing.
A national hero, Al-Attiyah stressed the training and fitness levels needed to achieve success: “I worked hard on my fitness to reach this level,” he said. “At 60 to 65 degrees Celsius in the car, you have to be in condition and focus for long periods – during the Dakar rally, for instance, you are driving 500 to 600km a day.”
Admitting he found snow the most difficult surface to navigate, Al-Attiyah said if he was not a champion driver, he might have looked to horse racing instead, while Loeb – a former electrician and gymnast – said his early dream had been as a fighter pilot.