Intercontinental Rally Challenge debutant Nasser Al Attiyah says he has everything in place to clinch this year's title in his Skoda Fabia S2000.
The Qatar driver is embarking on his busiest season to date as he combines his IRC season with a Super 2000 World Rally Championship effort – also in a Fabia – and continued participation in Volkswagen's Dakar program. Al Attiyah starts his first ever IRC round in Argentina later this week.
"I'm scheduled to do seven rounds of the IRC this year," he said, "and it would be fantastic if we could win it on seven rallies. But, we have budget to do more rallies, we can do the 10 rallies remaining [on the IRC calendar] if we need to."
This week's Rally Argentina is an event Al Attiyah knows well, as it's the round of the World Rally Championship which the former P-WRC champion has competed on most – six times in total. But, this week's Villa Carlos Paz-based, two-day event is not included in the WRC, forming the third round of the IRC instead.
While he might be familiar with the South American roads, Al Attiyah's pace remains an unknown in IRC terms. The Barwa-backed driver admits he knows enough about the IRC and who to look out for this weekend.
"[Kris] Meeke is going to be tough," said Al Attiyah. "He comes to the event having won in Brazil, so his confidence will be good. He drove well last year and knows the car. But I love this event in Argentina, it's one of my favorite races. It will be great going back to this country after I finished second in Dakar in January."
Al Attiyah is still getting used to his fourth competition car in as many events. He finished last year's Rally GB in a Group N Subaru; finished second on Dakar in a VW Race Touareg; won the Qatar Rally in a Ford Fiesta S2000 and then retired his Skoda Fabia S2000 from the recent Rally Mexico with an engine fault, while running third.
"The Skoda is a good car," said Al Attiyah. "But I'm still working with it. I'm still working on the suspension settings and finding out how it works best. There will be some more of that work in Argentina. After that, the rallies I'm looking forward to this year are the asphalt rallies. These will be interesting for me."
Between his 2010 programs, Al Attiyah could contest as many as 25 international rallies.