The Prince of Dunes fell short in pursuing his record-breaking eighth title
Oman’s Abdullah Al Rawahi and his Jordanian co-driver Ata Al Hmoud outlasted crown athlete Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah at the 2023 Oman International Rally.
This is a repeat of success for Al Rawahi and Al Hmoud who won the 2021 tournament.
“It was a great feeling to win my home rally for the first time two years ago, and to do it again is very special,” said Al-Rawahi after the race on Saturday.
“This is a perfect start to the championship for us, and I would like to thank Ata for his efforts and the team for giving me such a strong car on a difficult rally,” the Oman driver added.
Expected to be a difficult race for Al-Attiyah, the 52-year-old faced a daunting start from the 13th position.
On the final stage, Al Attiyah and his Andorra-based co-driver Mathieu Baumel managed to make headway into the rock stages, 10 minutes behind the race leader.
Fortunately for Al Rawahi and Al Hmoud, Al Attiyah crashing on the opening super special stage led the crown athlete to fall behind in the finish.
“After what happened on Thursday, I suppose I am happy enough with the result,” said Al-Attiyah after the race.
“But I am disappointed to have the puncture on the last stage when second place was achievable. That’s rallying. I drove for 17km on a rear right puncture,” the Qatari added.
In second place were Petr Kacirek and Petra Rihakova, who recorded the fastest time on the final stage.
Entering the race, Al-Attiyah won the Dakar Rally driver’s title for the fifth time and second in a row earning him the status as the favourite in the Oman race.
The Qatari has shared a record-breaking conquest in the Sultanate’s arena, triumphing in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2015, 2020, and again in 2022.