Qatar's Al Attiyah closes in on Dakar Rally crown

Toyota's driver Nasser Al Attiyah and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel compete in the Dakar Rally. (AFP)
Toyota's driver Nasser Al Attiyah and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel compete in the Dakar Rally. (AFP)

Al Attiyah is aiming to clinch his fourth Dakar title



By AFP

Published: Tue 11 Jan 2022, 5:14 PM

South African Giniel de Villiers won the Dakar Rally ninth stage on Tuesday as Nasser Al Attiyah moved closer to clinching his fourth title.

The 51-year-old Qatari had seen Sebastien Loeb nibble away at his extensive lead over the past couple of days. But with Friday’s finish in Riyadh looming France’s serial world rally champion has a 39min 05sec deficit to make up on Al Attiyah.

Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rahji is almost an hour adrift after this 287 kilometre stage around Wadi ad-Dawasir.

De Villiers nipped home nine seconds clear on the day from his fellow South African Henk Lategan to take his total of stage wins in the Dakar to 18.

The 49-year-old 2009 champion said it is a mystery to him how he and his car traditionally gets better as the event progresses. “I must say, the first week was not ideal,” he said.

“It was very stressful and mentally very, very tiring. Definitely something I would not like to go through again, but that’s behind us now. I don’t know why we often win at the end. “It would be nice to win at the beginning as well, but we seem to do well the longer the rally goes on, so maybe the rally needs to be three weeks!”


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