Qatar’s Al-Attiyah wins Dakar Rally

Qatari driver wins his second Dakar Rally title, edging out South Africa’s de Viliers into second place.

Nasser Al-Attiyah (R) became the seventh driver to win multiple titles in the car category [AFP]

Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar in the car category and Spain’s Marc Coma in bikes won the Dakar Rally.

The victory was Al-Attiyah’s second in cars, matching his 2011 title. He is the seventh to win multiple titles in the car category.

It's fantastic because we've dominated the race from the beginning and were able to control the rally throughout

by Nasser Al-Attiyah

South African Ginel de Villiers was 35 minutes, 34 seconds behind in second place, and Krzysztof Holowczyc of Poland was third. Holowczyc was 1:32:01 adrift in the grueling, two-week rally across Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.

“I’m delighted I’ve won the Dakar,” Al-Attiyah told reporters.

“It’s a really special moment for me. It’s fantastic because we’ve dominated the race from the beginning and were able to control the rally throughout.”

Al-Attiyah described himself as “really prepared, strong mentally and physically”.

Coma won his fifth Dakar title on bikes, finishing 16:53 ahead of Paulo Goncalves of Portugal, and 23:14 in front of Toby Price of Australia.

The stage ended in Baradero, north of the Argentine capital.

Coma’s five bike titles tie him with Frenchmen Cyril Despres and Cyril Neveu. Another Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel has won six. Peterhansel has also won five times in cars – the last in 2013 – making him the most successful racer in Dakar history.

Officials shortened the final stage because of heavy rain, which made parts of the route unsafe.

Source: AP