Al-Attiyah: Dakar win is career high
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, January 16th 2011, 10:42 GMT|
Nasser Al-Attiyah described his maiden Dakar Rally triumph as the highlight of his career after clinching the victory with a 49-minute advantage over his Volkswagen team-mate Giniel de Villiers.
The Qatari driver was involved in a close battle with Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel in the first half of the rally, before hitting the front at the start of the second week when both his rivals hit problems.
"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. It's hard to explain everything that goes through your head. But it is a very nice feeling.
"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."
He also hopes the result will help put Qatar on the world motorsport map.
"I think that now people will finally know where Qatar is located," Al-Attiyah joked.
Al-Attiyah's victory came in his sixth attempt at the Dakar. He had led for X-Raid BMW in 2009 until being excluded for missing way points, while last year he joined VW and finished just two minutes behind his victorious team-mate Sainz in second place.
The 40-year-old's other achievements include winning the Production class title in the 2006 World Rally Championship, winning last year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge season finale, and competing in the skeet shooting competition at the Olympic Games.