Interviewed by FRANCE 24 shortly after being expelled from the 2009 Dakar rally, Nasser Al-Attiyah acknowledged his mistake and said he respected the rally organizer’s decision although he was disappointed.
FRANCE 24 – Do you understand the rally’s decision to expel you from the race?
Nasser Al-Attiyah: "I’m extremely disappointed. Yesterday, I was leading the race by a comfortable margin, now I’m out. But I respect their decision. My engine was over-heating, I was just 30 km away from the finish line, so I decided not to stop at the checkpoint. The penalty is fair and entirely legitimate."
FRANCE 24 – Why did you decide to signal your error to the rally organizers?
"Even if I hadn’t done it, they would have found out sooner or later with the satellite images of the race. I preferred to come clean straight away."
FRANCE 24 – Are you going to appeal their decision?
"No, I’m not. It’s a fair decision. I take responsibility for my mistake. I’m just sorry for the Arab world that an Arab didn’t win the Dakar race this time. "
Date created : 2009-01-09