Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Iraq: Kurdish forces fight to protect Yazidis

Read more

DEBATE

Libya unrest: National Assembly asks for UN help to dissolve militias

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#IceBucketChallenge and hashtag activism

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The world’s dictators love the unrest in Ferguson'

Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • Ex-PM Juppé announces bid for 2017 French presidential race

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Deadly airstrikes hit Gaza as ceasefire with Israel collapses

    Read more

  • Tentative peace in Ferguson despite second fatal shooting

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Iraqi army clashes with militants in Tikrit after retaking key dam

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

  • ‘Let it be’: Londoners sick of Abbey Road tourists

    Read more

Sport

Al-Attiyah shoots straight into Dakar Rally victory

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-15

Qatar's versatile Nasser al-Attiyah clinched the Dakar Rally Saturday, ending a two year unlucky streak at the event, while defending champion Carlos Sainz had the consolation of taking the 13th and final stage of the race.

AFP - Qatar's Nasser al-Attiyah clinched the Dakar Rally on Saturday, ending two years of heartache on the gruelling event, while defending champion Carlos Sainz was left with the consolation of taking the 13th and final stage.

Versatile Al-Attiyah, who helped Qatar to a shooting gold medal at the Asian Games last November and has also appeared at the Olympics, had virtually wrapped up the title on Thursday when Sainz's hopes were shattered by a broken suspension.

That cost the former double world rally champion, a Volkswagen teammate of the Qatari, 80 minutes in lost time.

Victory also helped ease Al-Attiyah's misery of being disqualified in 2009 before being edged into second place by Spaniard Sainz in 2010 in a bad-tempered finale when the two men had a spectacular falling out.

"We drove a good, clean stage. I was just thinking about the finish line. It means a lot to win a Dakar, for me, for my people, for my country and for my team," said Al-Attiyah.

"It is a great victory. We demonstrated that we have the strongest team in the world. It is the third time the team has won a Dakar. It is also the biggest moment in my career."

Al-Attiyah had started the final stage, a 181km timed run from Cordoba, with a 48-minute lead over South African teammate Giniel de Villiers and was never troubled.

He finished 38sec behind Sainz, who claimed a record 24th stage win, on Saturday.

De Villiers was fourth on the day, 1min 58sec behind the Spaniard, to finish 49min 41sec behind Al-Attiyah in the overall standings.

"Before racing a Dakar, you know it will be tough. All Dakar raids are tough. It's like that. This is how the race goes," said Sainz.

"After two tough weeks, there is nothing left to say. I gave it my very best shot."

Spaniard Marc Coma won his third Dakar motorcycling title while Dutch rider Frans Verhoeven won the stage.

Coma, 34, had been virtually assured of the title going into the stage and rode his KTM carefully to finish 2min 16sec adrift of BMW rider Verhoeven.

"That is a lot of work and sacrifices that have gone into winning the Dakar from myself and the backroom staff, " said Coma.

"It has cost me a lot. I have had a good year. We gave the bike its debut and worked on it for over a year. I have had a really good team at the Dakar, and I haven't experienced the slightest problem.

"I am happy and emotional, but that is normal, no? It has been a long journey, a lot of built-up tension. And now I have profited from it."

France's defending champion Cyril Despres, also on a KTM, gained 1min 32sec on Coma on the stage but still finished more than 15min adrift whilst Chilean rider Francisco 'Chaleco' Lopez was third 1hr 40min behind the Spaniard.

"This special is different if you are in first place as it was the case last year... then you want the race to be shorter. When you are second, you would want the race to be longer," said Despres.

"But anyway, the feeling of finishing a Dakar is always nice especially here with all the people welcoming you. I am sad I could not do better than this though I have raced 11 Dakars, won 3 and ended 8 times on the podium.

"One more would have been great. But I just could not do any better. I made some mistakes; they were two small mistakes but they held some heavy consequences."
 

Date created : 2011-01-15

COMMENT(S)