Fourth stage win keeps Al Attiyah 
in control at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel stretched their overall advantage in a Toyota Hilux at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. (Supplied photo)
Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel stretched their overall advantage in a Toyota Hilux at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. (Supplied photo)

Another stage win on the final leg could be enough to present Al Attiyah with the last ever drivers' crown in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies



By Team KT

Published: Thu 11 Nov 2021, 12:59 AM

With four legs completed and one remaining, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is poised to conclude its 30th anniversary journey with a tense finale, offering starring roles to one new world champion, and another in waiting.

Fastest on the 251 km Abu Dhabi Aviation stage for a fourth win in a row, Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel stretched their overall advantage in a Toyota Hilux to an unexpected 23mins 48 secs over Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez and Spain’s Armand Monleon in a Toyota Hilux Overdrive.

In contrast, new FIM world champion Matthias Walkner has not won a stage so far in the rally’s 30th edition, although a fourth second best bikes time on a KTM extended his lead to 3mins 49.6 secs over Australian GasGas rider Daniel Sanders.

Another stage win on the final leg could be enough to present Al Attiyah with the last ever drivers’ crown in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, before the series is upgraded to world championship rally raid status next year.

But he must avoid a repeat of his final day exit in 2017, or leave the door open for his two remaining title rivals, Alvarez, and Saudi Arabia’s fourth-placed Yazeed Al Rajhi who trails the Qatari by 1hr 17mins with Britain’s Michael Orr in another Toyota Hilux Overdrive.

Poland’s Jakub Przygonski and German co-driver Timo Gottschalk, second overnight in a Mini John Cooper Works Buggy, saw their hopes of at least a podium finish ruined by mechanical problems among the Al Dhafrah dunes, finishing the day in 12th.


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