Qatar’s ace Nasser Al-Athiya dominated the first week of the 44th Dakar Rally, setting a 48-54-second lead on the traditional rest day of the event in Riad yesterday.
In partnership with French co-driver Matthew Baumel, who drove for Toyota Gazu Racing and made some important navigation decisions in a tricky week and six stages through the harsh desert of Saudi Arabia, Al Atiya is on the opening stage. I was able to win both parts. His further special is to overcome overdrive racing teammate Yazeedal-Rajhi and his co-driver Michael Orr for a comfortable cushion.
Al Atya said: I tried to push from the beginning, but some drivers made a mistake. Matthew navigated well. I am very happy to finish the first week of Dakar with a good lead. Matthew did a good job. He took great care not to make any mistakes. I think we are in good condition. I worked a lot this week without risk. This is Dakar and I will manage it without risk next week. We have to be much stronger. Relaxing makes a mistake, so you need to increase your pace without relaxing. You also need to navigate well. “
Arlaj was robbed of a nearly constant stage victory with a slight speed penalty, but Saudi Arabia sacrificed nine WRC champions Sebastien Loeb on stage the rest of the day to win the Toyota Hilux two. I was able to lead to the rank.
Giniel de Villiers, a teammate of Toyota Gazu Racing in Al-Attiya, arrived in Saudi Arabia in the 11th hour as he prepared for the Dakar Rally. South Africa regained his position in the top five when the event steward canceled the five-hour time penalty on Friday afternoon, maintaining fourth place in Riyadh, just one minute and 31 seconds behind Loeb.
Argentine Lucio Alvarez and Spanish navigator Armando Monleon ran to 3rd place overall during the opening week of the Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux, but lost 20 minutes to their rivals in 6 stages and fell to 5th place.
http://www.gulf-times.com/story/707640/Al-Attiyah-dominates-first-week-of-Dakar-Rally Al Atya dominates the first week of the Dakar Rally