Al-Attiyah wins Dakar Rally, Sunderland takes motorbike race

It was the Qatari’s fourth victory

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia– Nasser Al-Attiyah clinched his fourth Dakar Rally title on Friday in Jeddah after leading from the initial stage on New Year’s Day.

Al-Attiyah could manage to allow nearby rival Sebastien Loeb, the previous nine-time rally globe champ, defeated him by greater than five minutes on the 12th and also last sandy stage from Bisha and also still cruise ship to overall triumph by more than 27 mins. The Qatari formerly won in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

British cyclist Sam Sunderland won his second Dakar motorbike title after beating phase champion Pablo Quintanilla of Chile by 3 1/2 mins, the closest margin because 1994.

But the rally’s end was eclipsed by the road collision fatality of an assistance staff member from the PH Sporting activity team on an intermediary route.

Quentin Lavalée, aged 20 of France, was killed when the car he was driving hit a regional vehicle, authorities told Dakar Rally coordinators. A guest with Lavalée, Maxime Frere of Belgium, was harmed and taken to a Jeddah healthcare facility. Lavalee was a chief auto mechanic.

Al-Attiyah was runner-up in the last two Dakars in Saudi Arabia, as well as concentrated on rallying in the past year without sharing time with sporting activity capturing or powerboating. Tormented by slits on the Dakar, he fine-tuned a Toyota with larger tires and also suspension and pertained to Saudi having won 7 rallies.

His greatest opponents struck trouble early. Safeguarding champion Stephane Peterhansel shed a back wheel and three-time champ Carlos Sainz made a bad navigating mistake. Loeb’s drive shaft broke as well as by the day of rest a week back, Al-Attiyah had a 50-minute lead.

Loeb frantically broke at the space searching for his very first Dakar title but Al-Attiyah and also co-driver Matthieu Baumel skillfully prevented difficulty.

” It was an incredible Dakar for us. The entire race went without a hitch,” Al-Attiyah stated. “We opened a void on the first day and also have given that managed our lead. We’re actually pleased, as well as I reckon we’ll begin thinking of the following Dakar in a week or 10 days.”

Al-Attiyah’s 4th Dakar connected him for second most with Ari Vatanen. Peterhansel leads with 8.

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

” We never ever stopped striking, so we have no regrets,” Loeb stated. “Nasser has tons of experience as well as a co-driver who just makes errors once in a blue moon, so he controlled the race to perfection. I still had a blast, though, since whenever we gained time on him, it really felt terrific.”

Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi was third for his first Dakar platform at his 8th attempt.

Sunderland’s preparation wasn’t suitable. Riding for his brand-new group GasGas, he had a bad accident at the Rally Kazakhstan as well as retired ill from the Morocco Rally. Yet, he led throughout the initial week of the Dakar and when he was tested in the second week, timed his winning run to excellence.

” I had a quite rough period, but when you win the Dakar, it’s all worth it,” Sunderland stated.

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

” It was literally as well as mentally stressful. However I’m truly pleased with my efficiency,” Quintanilla stated.

Austrian biker Matthias Walkner, the 2018 champ and two times runner-up, was virtually seven minutes back in 3rd total which, he stated, “practically feels like a success.”

Sunderland’s brother-in-law, Adrien van Beveren of France, was fourth, and Joan Barreda of Spain 5th while carrying a shoulder injury.

Mason Klein, the 20-year-old American on debut, was ninth, 13 secs ahead of two-time champion Toby Cost of Australia.