Nasser Al-Attiyah is a rally driver from Qatar who has been active in the world of motorsport since 2003. Over this period, he won numerous titles.
He is a 15-time Middle East Rally champion, triple champion in WRC supporting categories, a four-time FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup champion and the three-time winner of the Dakar Rally.
And that is not all, because Al-Attiyah is also the Olympic medalist. He participated in five Summer Olympics and won the bronze medal in the men's skeet at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Nasser Al-Attiyah (right) won the shooting bronze medal at 2012 Olympic Games in London
Four rally titles for Nasser in one year
The year 2015 was Nasser's most successful season; he managed to win in all the competitions that he was a part of. In January, he won the Dakar Rally for the second time, driving a Mini All4 Racing of the X-Raid Team. Driving the same car, he was also the winner of the 2015 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. He added two more titles driving a Ford Fiesta RRC and a Škoda Fabia R5. The combination of two different cars was also victorious in the Middle East Rally Championship and the WRC-2 Championship.
Starting a career in 2003
Nasser's successful racing career started in 2003, when he won his first MERC title, driving two evolutions of the Subaru Impreza WRC (S8 and S9). The next year, he debuted at the WRC event, driving a Subaru Imreza WRX STI in Production class at the Swedish Rally. After six rallies across the world, he finished seventh in the PWRC classification. At the beginning of 2004, he debuted at the Dakar Rally, driving a Mitsubishi and finished 10th overall.
Nasser won 2006 Production WRC title with Subaru Impreza STi N12
First world championship title in 2006
He went a step further in 2005, when he took the second MERC title and finished the PWRC season in 2nd place, once again driving a Subaru Impreza. The final step in his Production class was the 2006 PWRC title, with Chris Patterson as a co-driver. That was when he added his third MERC title to the list.
At the Dakar Rallies from 2005 to 2007, he competed with a BMW X3. He finished the race only once, at the sixth place in 2007. In the World Rally Championship, he competed from 2007 to 2009 with Group N Subaru and Mitsubishi cars, with three more MERC titles. The year 2009 was his last year with BMW. He was among the frontrunners at the Dakar Rally when he was disqualified for missing too many checkpoints.
Nasser moved to Volkswagen Motorsport in 2010 and won the 2011 Dakar Rally with German manufacturer
Driving Volkswagen Touareg to the first Dakar victory
In 2010, Nasser switched to S2000 cars (Škoda Fabia and Ford Fiesta) in the World Rally Championship and moved to Volkswagen Motorsport at the Dakar Rally. Driving the Volkswagen Race Touareg, Nasser finished second in the 2010 Dakar Rally, behind teammate Carlos Sainz. Neither of his rallies proved unsuccessful; he finished second in MERC, seventh in SWRC competition and 10th in the International Rally Challenge.
In 2011, Nasser scored the third consecutive victory for Volkswagen at the Dakar Rally and for the first time he reached the top podium spot. His co-driver was German driver Timo Gottschalk. Nasser continued to use the Ford Fiesta S2000 in world and regional rally events, winning one more MERC title and finishing 7th in SWRC classification.
In 2012 World Rally Championship Nasser competed with Citroen DS3 WRC
Two unsuccessful Dakar experiments
During 2012, Al-Attiyah was using three different cars in rallying, but at the Dakar Rally he competed in a Hummer. Due to a lot of mechanical issues he couldn't finish the race. He won one more MERC title, driving a Peugeot 207 S2000 and a Ford Fiesta RRC. For the WRC events, he stepped into a Citroen DS3 WRC and finished the season at the 12th place.
One more vehicle change followed for the 2013 Dakar Rally. Nasser Al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz were teammates in a private team backed by Qatari government and Red Bull. They drove Demon Jefferies buggies but couldn't finish the race. In the World Rally Championship, Nasser returned to Ford and finished eleventh in the classification with a Fiesta RS WRC. With the RRC version of the Fiesta he took his ninth MERC title.
Nasser's participation at 2013 Dakar Rally with Demon Jefferies buggy wasn't successful
Al Attiyah scored second Dakar victory with X-Raid Team
Ford Fiesta RRC was Nasser's car of choice for 2014 and 2015, two seasons in which he took two WRC-2 championship titles. He added two more MERC titles. In the second part of the 2015 season he was using all-new Škoda Fabia R5 in three events.
After dissapointing results at the Dakar in 2012 and 2013 Nasser opted for cooperation with the proven X-raid Team. Its Mini All4 Racing already had two victories and Nasser reached the podium at 2014 Dakar Rally, in his first attempt with the new car. And finally 2015 followed, with a historic triumph in four different competitions.
2015 Dakar Rally winner
Two more championship titles in 2016
After a record-breaking 2015 season, it was impossible to repeat the success, but Al-Attiyah tried. He won two more championship title, winning the Middle East Rally Championship with Škoda Fabia R5 and FIA Cross-country Rally World Cup with Toyota Hilux. He slowed down his WRC activities to concentrate to the preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. This time, he was far from winning a shooting medal.
At 2016 Dakar Rally, he finished on podium, as the runner-up behind Stephane Peterhansel, who scored his 12th victory.
Nasser Al-Attiyah in 2017
2017 - DNF at Dakar Rally, one more FIA World Cup title
For the 2017 Dakar Rally, Al-Attiyah changed the team and joined Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa to drive Toyota Hilux Evo. He won the first stage but retired after stage 3, losing the wheel on his car. Over the year, he was dominant in the FIA Cross-country Rally World Cup, winning one more championship title.
In 2018, Al-Attiyah returned to Dakar Rally with Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa, finishing in the second place behind Carlos Sainz. It was his fourth podium in addition to two wins at Dakar Rally. In the 2018 Middle East Rally Championship, he had no proper rival again, winning one more championship title.
Third victory at Dakar Rally in January 2019
In January 2019, Nasser clinched his third victory at Dakar Rally. He was sharing the #301 Toyota Hilux with Matthieu Baumel, dominantly taking a victory with 46-minute advantage over Nani Roma.
Later in 2019, he clinched MERC championship title one more time, for the 15th time in a career, and finished second in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.
Nasser has won at Dakar Rally with three different manufacturers