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A big surprise during the Cyprus Rally was the sight of the Fiesta R5 of Nasser Al Attiyah, the outside of which was adorned by life size images of a face.

We asked the championship's press chief, who said the face belonged to His Majesty Sheikh Tamin Bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, Nasser's main backer.

Al Thani? That name was familiar.

Driving a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, Sheikh Hamad Al Thani was the FIA’s Middle East Rally Champion in 1993.

Even more curious was that Al Thani only won the title through a tie deciding rule, beating a certain Nasser Khalifa Al Attiyah. The plot thickened.

We spoke to Ken Skidmore, the chief of the Autotek team which runs the Nasser we know.

“The picture shows a young man who just happens to have a similar name to that of the 1993 MERC driver, but is no relation. He is the Emir of Qatar, the King of the country.”

And the Nasser who was beaten to the title?

“That was just one of the many cousins of the driver who won the Cyprus Rally again.”

- Martin Holmes

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