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Al Attiyah gears up for Dakar Rally 2020

Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah

Bengaluru, November 22: Defending champion Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah is the favourite again for the Dakar Rally 2020 to be held in Saudi Arabia from January 5 to 17.

Alongside French co-driver Matthieu Baumel at the wheel of his now-famous Toyota Hilux, the ace Qatari, who has won the gruelling off-road rally three times in the last eight years, has been on great form during recent years.

A dune-driving natural, it is hard not to see the Qatari challenging for a fourth Dakar title in January.

"There's so many good drivers out there, the only way to stay in front is to be at your best every day of the rally," said Al Attiyah, who won the Dakar in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

The off-road action begins on January 5 in Jeddah and finishes 9,000kms later on January 17 in Al Qiddiya.

First in gulf

First in gulf

After three decades in Africa and 11 editions in South America, the toughest rally on the planet is coming to the Gulf region for the first time.

A vast expanse of desert as well as a mosaic of other challenging terrains await the world's best off-road racers.

High dunes

High dunes

Speed and navigational skills will be put to the test for two weeks, from the Red Sea to the Arabian Gulf. 250M high dunes must be successfully traversed by any competitor hoping to cross the finish line and Al Attiyah and Baumel are masters in it.

The Dakar Rally is heading into the 30th host country of its illustrious history.

Peterhansel in form

Peterhansel in form

The husband and wife team of Stephane (France) and Andrea Peterhansel (Germany) are a potential challenger to Al Attiyah. The duo will be seen behind the wheels of all-new MINI John Cooper Works Buggy.

Can Stephane win his 14th Dakar title, and his first while racing alongside Andrea? The fact that the couple won the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies suggests they have a great chance of more success in the Saudi deserts.

Alonso to debut

Alonso to debut

The Dakar Rally 2020 will also see the debut of two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso making his debut as he is all set to drive a V-8-powered Toyota Hilux throughout the 12-day event.

The Spaniard and his co-driver Marc Coma had finished third in the recent Al Ula Neom Cross-Country Rally in Saudi and will be hoping to build on it.

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Story first published: Friday, November 22, 2019, 12:18 [IST]
Other articles published on Nov 22, 2019
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