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Al-Attiyah 'doesn't want to go back to this car' after Dakar exit

Prodrive's Nasser Al-Attiyah says he 'does not want to go back to this car' after his painful exit from the Dakar Rally on Tuesday.

#200 Nasser Racing Prodrive Hunter

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Defending event winner Al-Attiyah has endured a torrid run in the 46th edition of Dakar following his switch from Toyota to Prodrive, with a combination of accidents and reliability problems forcing him out of the event.

The Qatari driver had been on the back foot since he dropped 25 minutes to the leaders on the opening stage, and his hopes of securing a sixth career victory formally ended when his Prodrive Hunter took severe damage in a hard landing in the 48-hour chrono test last week.

Al-Attiyah could have still salvaged some points in the World Rally-Raid Championship in the second week of Dakar, but an engine breakdown on Monday forced him to withdraw from Stage 8.

He had barely started Tuesday's Stage 9 when a problem with the rear suspension - which was later diagnosed as a steering problem by the team - left him with no option but to return to the bivouac via road. He formally pulled out of the rally at the end of the day.

After reaching the bivouac, the 53-year-old cast doubt on his future with Prodrive, saying he does not wish to drive the Hunter again.

The five-time Dakar winner is set to join Renault brand Dacia in 2025 in a programme that will be run by the British organisation.

"I'm sorry, I don't want to get back in this car," said Al-Attiyah.

"You know, I've made up my mind, I just came to say thank you, and I'm going home tonight.

"This year, for the Dakar, I learned something, you know, in my life and, yeah, this will never happen again."

#200 Nasser Racing Prodrive Hunter: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

#200 Nasser Racing Prodrive Hunter: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel

When Al-Attiyah's Prodrive stablemate Sebastien Loeb was told about his reliability problems, the nine-time World Rally champion was left surprised.

"Again? Mine seems to be fine," he said.

Al-Attiyah rarely suffered any reliability problems during his time at Toyota, despite some of his team-mates being bogged down by a number of issues.

Coming into this year's Dakar, Al-Attiyah claimed that it was his driving style that ensured he avoided the bulk of the reliability gremlins that affected other Hiluxes.

"If you look at Toyota's track record, every car has had a problem, except mine, because the Dakar has its tricks, and all the cars are the same," he said at that time.

"Today, if every day you go to the maximum, you will have a problem, but you need to think about everything going to the limit, it's not about the reliability of the Toyota or the Hunter, no.

"If you look at the history of Toyota, we had more than fifteen cars every edition and all of them had setbacks, except for mine. That's my secret, I can't tell you, I need to keep it because it's very important to treat your car, to have a good position and speed, otherwise you will break it."

Al-Attiyah won three of his five Dakar titles with Toyota, including two in a row from 2022-23 prior to his switch to Prodrive.

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