The three-time Dakar champion was thrilled with his opening day display.
"It's never easy because the road is really difficult from the beginning. We didn't make any mistakes, except one flat tyre, and then we need to manage without any mistakes and without getting lost. We've a good pace. Tomorrow is a long stage. Always in Qatar we've flat tyres but we try to manage with a good speed," said Al Attiyah.
Al Rajhi second
Al Rajhi and Ulster co-driver Michael Orr finished the day in a solid second place in the second of the Toyotas, despite losing their way for a short time between 98km and 101km of the stage.
Al Rajhi said: "We've one puncture today, after 120km, and we had no brakes before the finish for 40km."
Jakub in the mix
Poland's Jakub Przygonski marked his first competitive appearance with the Overdrive Racing team with a third quickest time alongside German team-mate Timo Gottschalk.
Jakub stopped for a short time on the run in to the finish and reached Lusail 10min 47sec behind the leader.
Day one also included the first of three rounds of the Qatar National Baja with the entire day's route counting as a scoring round of the five-event series. Twenty-one vehicles were eligible for championship points and victory on the day fell easily to Khalid Al Mohannadi.
The second leg is more demanding and includes a competitive section of 334.25km. The timed action starts off the Al Shamal highway and winds its way along the north-eastern coast and across the northern deserts to finish off the Al Kharsaah road.