Dakar Rally: Third victory for Nasser Al-Attiyah, maiden win for Toyota
Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel are the winners of 2019 Dakar Rally! The 48-year-old Qatari driver clinched a victory in the world’s toughest cross-country race in the #301 Toyota Hilux of Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa, sharing a car with the French navigator who is celebrating his 43rd birthday today. It’s the first ever victory for Toyota in Dakar Rally history.
It’s the third Dakar Rally victory for Al-Attiyah. He and Baumel previously won in 2015 in a Mini All4 Racing of X-Raid Team. Al-Attiyah’s first win was in 2011 when he was sharing a Volkswagen Race Touareg with Timo Gottschalk. For Al-Attiyah, it was his 15th participation at Dakar Rally. Besides three wins, he has four more podiums.
Al-Attiyah’s victory at 2019 Dakar Rally, which took place at 5,000-kilometer route over Peru, was pretty dominant. He won the first special stage on January 7, then dropped to the eighth place after the second day but return to the overall lead after the Stage 3. Since then, he was continuously in the lead until the last day on Thursday, January 17.
At the finish line, Al-Attiyah’s advantage over the second-placed Nani Roma and Alex Haro Bravo (Mini JCW Rally) was 46.42 minutes. Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena finished in the third place in privately-entered Peugeot 3008 DKR. It’s the second podium for Loeb/Elena after they finished 2nd two years ago.
The Top 10 in car category is completed by Jakub Przygonski (Orlen X-Raid Team Mini All4 Racing), Cyril Despres (X-Raid Mini JCW Buggy), Martin Prokop (MP Sports Ford Raptor), Yazeed Al Rajhi (X-Raid Team), Boris Garafulic (X-Raid Team), Giniel de Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa) and Ronan Chabot (Overdrive Toyota).
Last year’s winner Carlos Sainz dropped from the race early in a Mini JCW Buggy, finishing only 65th on Day 3 after he broke his car’s front-left suspension just 39km into the stage, almost losing a wheel. The Spaniard was stopped for 3 hours and 15 minutes. After ten days, he finished 13th in the overall standings.
Sainz’s teammate, ‘Mr. Dakar’ Stephane Peterhansel, was running fourth overall until the Stage 9 when he had a heavy landing in a Mini JCW Buggy, causing an injury of his navigator David Castera that forced them to retire.
The winners in other categories are Francisco Lopez Contardo (SxS, South Racing Can-Am), Eduard Nikolaev (truck, Kamaz Master), Toby Price (moto, Red Bull KTM Factory Team) and Nicolas Cavigliasso (quad, Dragon Rally Team).