‘The Prince of Dunes’ finished second place at the Andalucia Rally, which qualified him to clinch the Drivers’ title in the inaugural FIA World Rally-Raid Championship on Sunday.
Paired with his longtime French co-driver Mathieu Baumel, Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah ended just six seconds behind title rival and nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb on the rural Sevilla roads.
The four-time Dakar Rally winner led a fierce comeback in the race after starting in 11th due to a one-minute penalty for a speeding violation at the Qualifying Stages.
Al Attiyah dashed through the 317.33km track, surpassing Saudi rally driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi who defeated the Qatari earlier this month at the Rallye Du Maroc.
Lapping a time of 8 hours 40min 41sec, Al Attiyah proved once again that age is just a number.
“This is a fantastic result for us to cap a memorable season. It was not easy, and we had a fantastic fight all weekend with Loeb. But we have won the title for the first time, and that was goal at the start of the programme,” said Al Attiyah after the race.
Al Attiyah’s teammate Baumel applauded his team’s effort, calling the race challenging.
“We started from the 11th position. The stage was very technical and the navigation was not easy, as we had many junctions and a lot of way-points to check and to manage in the car,” said Baumel.
Hamad al-Sahouti’s Asia Talent Cup
On the other side of the world, Qatar’s rider Hamad Al Sahouti placed sixth at the Asia Talent Cup.
Held in Malaysia, Al Sahouti clocked a time of 33 minutes and 35 seconds in the 13-lap race.
The 17-year-old rider sits in the fifth spot in the overall standings behind Veda Egapratama.
Hakim Danish of Malaysia finished the race in front, continuing to retain as race leader.