Nasser Al-Attiyah to defend Dakar Rally title in Team Robby Gordon Hummer
|By Jamie O'Leary||Tuesday, December 6th 2011, 13:19 GMT|
Nasser Al-Attiyah will defend his Dakar Rally title in January in a Hummer run by Team Robby Gordon.
The 40-year-old Qatari won the 2011 event for Volkswagen after triumphing in a tight battle with his team-mate Carlos Sainz, but looked likely to miss next year's rally after the team pulled out of desert raids to focus on its World Rally Championship programme.
However, he has secured a late deal to drive a second Hummer alongside team owner Gordon, and will carry the number 300, which is usually reserved for former winners in such a situation.
"The thought of not doing the Dakar almost made me sick," Al-Attiyah said. "But things eventually turned around. It's fantastic because it's a new challenge for me and I'm proud of being able to represent Qatar."
Lucas Cruz, who sat alongside Sainz during the Spaniard's 2010 Dakar win for VW, will be Al-Attiyah's co-driver.
Should Al-Attiyah win, he will be only the second driver after Ari Vatanen in 1991 to triumph on the Dakar in two different makes of car.