The car that cares

Al-Attiyah wins Dakar Rally, Sunderland takes motorbike race

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Nasser Al-Attiyah clinched his fourth Dakar Rally title on Friday in Jeddah soon after main from the 1st phase on New Year’s Working day.

Al-Attiyah could manage to permit closest rival Sebastien Loeb, the previous 9-time rally earth winner, defeat him by far more than five minutes on the twelfth and very last sandy phase from Bisha and continue to cruise to general victory by far more than 27 minutes. The Qatari previously gained in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

British rider Sam Sunderland gained his 2nd Dakar motorcycle title soon after beating phase winner Pablo Quintanilla of Chile by three 1/two minutes, the closest margin because 1994.

But the rally’s close was overshadowed by the street crash death of a support personnel member from the PH Sport crew on a liaison route.

Quentin Lavalée, aged 20 of France, was killed when the automobile he was driving collided with a regional truck, law enforcement explained to Dakar Rally organizers. A passenger with Lavalée, Maxime Frere of Belgium, was wounded and taken to a Jeddah healthcare facility. Lavalee was a main mechanic.

Al-Attiyah was runner-up in the very last two Dakars in Saudi Arabia, and focused on rallying in the past yr without the need of sharing time with activity shooting or powerboating. Plagued by punctures on the Dakar, he high-quality-tuned a Toyota with bigger tires and suspension and arrived to Saudi acquiring gained seven rallies.

His major rivals struck hassle early. Defending winner Stephane Peterhansel dropped a rear wheel and 3-time champ Carlos Sainz designed a negative navigation mistake. Loeb’s push shaft broke and by the rest working day a 7 days back, Al-Attiyah experienced a fifty-moment lead.

Loeb desperately chipped at the hole in research of his 1st Dakar title but Al-Attiyah and co-driver Matthieu Baumel expertly averted hassle.

“It was an outstanding Dakar for us. The full race went without the need of a hitch,” Al-Attiyah said. “We opened up a hole on the 1st working day and have because managed our lead. We’re genuinely satisfied, and I reckon we’ll commence imagining of the future Dakar in a 7 days or 10 days.”

Al-Attiyah’s fourth Dakar tied him for 2nd most with Ari Vatanen. Peterhansel leads with 8.

Loeb’s 2nd area matched his 2017 final result in Argentina.

“We in no way stopped attacking, so we have no regrets,” Loeb said. “Nasser has tons of working experience and a co-driver who only tends to make problems the moment in a blue moon, so he controlled the race to perfection. I continue to experienced a blast, although, simply because every time we acquired time on him, it felt fantastic.”

Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi was third for his 1st Dakar podium at his eighth attempt.

Sunderland’s planning was not excellent. Driving for his new crew GasGas, he experienced a negative crash at the Rally Kazakhstan and retired unwell from the Morocco Rally. However, he led all through the 1st 7 days of the Dakar and when he was challenged in the 2nd 7 days, timed his profitable run to perfection.

“I experienced a very tough time, but when you win the Dakar, it really is all worth it,” Sunderland said.

Quintanilla was runner-up for the 2nd time in 3 Dakars.

“It was physically and mentally exhausting. But I’m genuinely delighted with my overall performance,” Quintanilla said.

Austrian rider Matthias Walkner, the 2018 winner and twice runner-up, was practically seven minutes back in third general which, he said, “pretty much feels like a victory.”

Sunderland’s brother-in-legislation, Adrien van Beveren of France, was fourth, and Joan Barreda of Spain fifth although carrying a shoulder damage.

Mason Klein, the 20-yr-outdated American on debut, was ninth, 13 seconds forward of two-time winner Toby Selling price of Australia.


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