Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Stage report

Dakar 2022: Al-Attiyah tops Prologue as Audi makes strong start

Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah topped Saturday’s Prologue for the 2022 Dakar Rally, as Audi’s electric RS Q e-tron challenger made a strong start to its competitive debut with Carlos Sainz Sr.

#201 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Matthieu Baumel

#201 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Matthieu Baumel

Red Bull Content Pool

On a terrain with similar characteristics to those that the competitors will encounter throughout the first week of the race, 2021 runner-up Al-Attiyah completed the 19km Prologue section located between Jeedah and Ha’il in 10m56s as he kick-started his bid for a fourth Dakar win to add to previous successes in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

The Qatari driver, giving the new Toyota Hilux its Dakar bow, took the top spot from fellow three-time Dakar champion Sainz, who finished just 12 seconds off the pace in the leading Audi entry.

However, while the 2010, 2018 and 2020 winner was able to show the raw speed of the new Audi on the opening day of the rally-raid, his team-mates encountered a less successful outing.

Defending and 14-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel dropped 1m12s to finish 14th, ahead of 2016 World Rallycross champion Mattias Ekstrom in the third Audi.

Brian Baragwanath was a surprise third for the Century Racing marque, leading Toyota’s Henk Lategan and WRC legend Sebastien Loeb in the leading Prodrive-built BRX Hunter.

Competing with new co-driver Fabian Lurquin, following his split with long-time navigator Daniel Elena, the nine-time WRC champion clocked a time of 11m33s in his heavily-revised Hunter T1+.

Local driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi was sixth in an Overdrive-run Toyota, just two seconds clear of the second BRX car of 2014 winner Nani Roma.

Sainz was an impressive second on the new electric Audi's debut

Sainz was an impressive second on the new electric Audi's debut

Photo by: A.S.O.

Factory Toyota driver Giniel de Villier, who risked missing the rally after an earlier positive COVID-19 test, finished eighth ahead of Jakub Przygonski and his Orlen-sponsored Mini buggy.

Orlando Terranova ensured all three Prodrive cars finished the top 10 with a time of 11m57s.

With its previous star drivers Peterhansel and Sainz having left for Audi, the X-raid Mini team failed to log a single finisher inside the top 15, with Yasir Seaidan its top runner in 17th.

Further back, Sainz's Extreme E team-mate Laia Sanz was provisionally classified 43rd in her first Dakar appearance in the cars category, the ex-KTM motorcycle rider having signed a deal with X-raid to drive a Mini All4 Racing.

After the 595km liaison to Ha'il, the top 10 finishers will get to choose their starting position for the 334km special stage on Sunday, with Al-Attiyah having the final say on his starting position.

 

Be part of Autosport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Rebellion boss takes over Dumas' car after Dakar shakedown fire
Next article Dakar organiser issues warning alert after Jeddah car explosion

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe