Qatar's Al-Attiyah wins Dakar Rally

Al-Attiyah finished the final 14th stage to Dammam with a lead of an hour and 20 minutes

By Web Desk
January 15, 2023
Al-Attiyah won three stages and had more than an hour's advantage in the overall standing — Reuters

Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah won the Dakar Rally title for the fifth time on Sunday while Kevin Benavides succeeded on two wheels to clinch his second title in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Attiyah finished the final 14th stage to Dammam with a lead of an hour and 20 minutes over France's nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb.

"It was really a tough Dakar for everybody but we managed to win again. It's amazing to defend our title. I am happy to win five times, Mathieu four times now," said Al-Attiyah.

"We need to keep going and to win more and more. We finished Dakar and we try to defend our world championship," added the reigning FIA Rally-Raid (W2RC) world champion.

"We didn't need to really push, to be crazy. We need to accept what we get. Just to finish and win the Dakar is very important to me."

Loeb had won a record six stages in a row up to Sunday for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team but compatriot Guerlain Chicherit took the final honours in Dammam.

Brazilian rookie Lucas Moraes finished third overall in a Toyota Hilux for Overdrive Racing.

On the bikes, Benavides beat Australian Toby Price, also a double Dakar champion who had started the day 12 seconds clear, by 43 seconds after winning the final sprint to victory.

"The first point is disappointment. We've come so far, but look, Kevin's done a great job," said Price, who had to turn back for two missed waypoints that cost him the race.

"Hard to take at the moment, but at the end of the day I'm going home in one piece and we got a Dakar trophy. It hurts a little bit."

American Skyler Howes finished third overall for the Husqvarna factory team.

Frenchman Alexandre Giroud won the quadbike title for the second year in a row.

Dutch driver Janus Van Kasteren won the truck category in his Iveco, ending a run of success for Kamaz dating back to 2017.