March 26, 2023

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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 just after foremost from the very first phase on New Year’s Day.

Al-Attiyah could manage to permit nearest rival Sebastien Loeb, the previous nine-time rally world winner, conquer him by extra than 5 minutes on the 12th and last sandy phase from Bisha and nevertheless cruise to overall victory by more than 27 minutes. The Qatari earlier received in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

British rider Sam Sunderland received his second Dakar motorcycle title soon after beating stage winner Pablo Quintanilla of Chile by 3 1/2 minutes, the closest margin considering that 1994.

But the rally’s close was overshadowed by the highway crash demise of a support employees member from the PH Activity team on a liaison route.

Quentin Lavalée, aged 20 of France, was killed when the automobile he was driving collided with a local truck, police instructed Dakar Rally organizers. A passenger with Lavalée, Maxime Frere of Belgium, was hurt and taken to a Jeddah medical center. Lavalee was a main mechanic.

Al-Attiyah was runner-up in the previous two Dakars in Saudi Arabia, and targeted on rallying in the earlier 12 months with no sharing time with activity shooting or powerboating. Plagued by punctures on the Dakar, he wonderful-tuned a Toyota with even bigger tires and suspension and arrived to Saudi owning received seven rallies.

His greatest rivals struck difficulty early. Defending winner Stephane Peterhansel misplaced a rear wheel and a few-time champ Carlos Sainz manufactured a poor navigation mistake. Loeb’s travel shaft broke and by the rest day a 7 days in the past, Al-Attiyah had a 50-moment lead.

Loeb desperately chipped at the gap in lookup of his first Dakar title but Al-Attiyah and co-driver Matthieu Baumel expertly avoided difficulty.

“It was an outstanding Dakar for us. The total race went without a hitch,” Al-Attiyah mentioned. “We opened up a gap on the initial day and have considering that managed our guide. We’re seriously pleased, and I reckon we’ll get started considering of the future Dakar in a week or 10 times.”

Al-Attiyah’s fourth Dakar tied him for next most with Ari Vatanen. Peterhansel leads with eight.

Loeb’s next location matched his 2017 final result in Argentina.

“We by no means stopped attacking, so we have no regrets,” Loeb stated. “Nasser has tons of encounter and a co-driver who only would make problems the moment in a blue moon, so he managed the race to perfection. I still had a blast, however, since just about every time we attained time on him, it felt great.”

Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi was 3rd for his initial Dakar podium at his eighth try.

Sunderland’s preparing was not ideal. Driving for his new team GasGas, he experienced a lousy crash at the Rally Kazakhstan and retired sick from the Morocco Rally. Yet, he led in the course of the 1st 7 days of the Dakar and when he was challenged in the 2nd week, timed his profitable run to perfection.

“I experienced a pretty rough season, but when you acquire the Dakar, it is all well worth it,” Sunderland explained.

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

“It was physically and mentally exhausting. But I’m really delighted with my general performance,” Quintanilla mentioned.

Austrian rider Matthias Walkner, the 2018 winner and 2 times runner-up, was practically 7 minutes again in 3rd over-all which, he explained, “almost feels like a victory.”

Sunderland’s brother-in-law, Adrien van Beveren of France, was fourth, and Joan Barreda of Spain fifth even though carrying a shoulder injuries.

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


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