Other Sports: Rallying-Qatar’s al-Attiyah takes the lead after Dakar prologue


(Reuters) – Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah received the prologue to the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Saturday as final 12 months’s general runner-up made a robust begin to his bid for a fourth victory in the endurance occasion.

The Toyota Hilux driver was 12 seconds faster than Spain’s three-times winner Carlos Sainz, driving the electrical Audi RS Q e-tron, over the 19km timed dash stage 1A earlier than a 595km liaison between Jeddah and Ha’il.

South African Brian Baragwanath was in third place in a Century Racing buggy.

Audi — with reigning champion and 14-times winner Stephane Peterhansel becoming a member of Sainz and Sweden’s Mattias Ekstroem in the crew — is searching for to change into the first producer to win the Dakar with an electrified powertrain.

Peterhansel was ranked 14th in the automobile class after the prologue, one minute and 12 seconds off the tempo, with Ekstroem fifteenth.

“We raced for 20km and acquired the race going. We’re being very cautious and preserving tabs on all the parameters, however the automobile feels good to drive,” stated Peterhansel.

“The automobile is sweet at going over dunes, which can be nice.”

Nine-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb was fifth for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme crew over the dust tracks and small dunes.

The high 10 finishers in the automobile class in the prologue get to decide on their beginning place in the high 10 for Sunday’s stage 1B, with Al-Attiyah having the ultimate say on the place he begins.

In the motorbike class, Australian Daniel Sanders led the approach for the Gas Gas manufacturing unit crew with Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla second.

The Dakar, being run totally in Saudi Arabia for the third time and that includes 409 automobiles at the begin, is now in its forty fourth version.

The annual rally began in 1978 as a race from Paris to the Senegalese capital, Dakar, however moved from Africa to South America for security causes in 2009.

One of motorsport’s most harmful and gruelling occasions, the rally moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, modifying by Christian Radnedge)

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