Double Dakar winner Al-Attiyah set to race Skoda Fabia in 2019 WRX

Two-time Dakar winner and former World Rally Championship driver Nassar Al-Attiyah is closing on a deal to race in the World Rallycross Championship with ES Motorsport for next season

Double Dakar winner Al-Attiyah set to race Skoda Fabia in 2019 WRX

Al-Attiyah tested ES Motorsport's new Skoda Fabia Supercar at the Bikernieki circuit in Latvia on Thursday alongside former works Hyundai WRC driver Kevin Abbring, who is currently working as the squad's test driver.

The test marked the first time the recently released car has been driven on a full rallycross circuit.

ES Motorsport chose the Riga venue to compare its performance against times from the Latvian round of the WRX series, which took place last weekend.

"To be honest it's gone better than expected," team manager Ramunas Fetingis told Autosport.

"Already from the very first laps I can tell you that we can get to the European Championship finals, so it's quite okay for us. We're really happy."

While Abbring is expected the remain as test driver with the Lithuanian outfit in the immediate future, ES Motorsport is working with Al-Attiyah to finalise plans to contest the 2019 World RX season.

"We are really happy with the pilots," said Fetingis. "Nassar is really good in other races and he's enjoying the rallycross car now.

"Also with Kevin testing for us we have really valuable knowledge.

"We didn't sign the contract yet, but we are really confident that we will see a new a new face in World RX next year.

"I cannot officially announce that Nassar is coming but he is really happy with the car, with the team and we are happy with his performance so we are doing everything to make a deal for next season."

ES Motorsport is evaluating whether to build a second Fabia Supercar to current WRX regulations, or whether it should focus on developing an electric machine ahead of the championship's proposed switch to electric cars, which has been postponed until 2021.

"The team is discussing right now which car to build," said Fetingis. "To develop an electric Supercar or a normal Supercar like it is now.

"We have plans for at least five years in World RX, so that means we will have to go with electric car in 2021 if we want to be in the world championship."

ES Motorsport will stay in Latvia for a second day of testing on Friday, and hopes to run the car in Germany and France in the coming weeks.

"We are dealing with Nassar because his calendar is really, really tight," said Fetingis. "Maybe we will test after the World RX race in Germany.

"If we will not succeed to do that immediately after the race then maybe we will go to France. Now it's just to do everything to find more speed and kilometres are everything."

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Series World Rallycross
Author Hal Ridge
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