No stopping Nasser as he powers to Silk Way victory
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah becomes the first rally driver to win Dakar, Silk Way in the same year.
It is how every sportsperson hopes to seal a victory – dominate from start to finish and leave your rivals far behind. And that is exactly how Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah set up his victory in the grueling Silk Way Rally.
All through the nine stages in the past 10 days, the Qatari driver stayed ahead of his rivals. At the end of the marathon 5000km course spread across three countries – Russia, Mongolia and China – the Overdrive Racing driver emerged winner with a big margin of 1hr, 25min and 4sec.
The victory was also extra special as Nasser and his co-driver France’s Mathieu Baumel became the only team to have ever won the Dakar Rally and the Silk Way Rally in the same year. Nasser and Baumel had won the Dakar in January.
Nasser who notched Toyota’s first win in the Central Asian event said, “I’m so happy. This was one event that I really wanted to win and I’ve now managed that”.
The missing silverware was finally added to his trophy cupboard in an emphatic manner.
China’s Wei Han finished second overall and Frenchman Jerome Pelichet was placed third.
While Nasser was the favourite heading into the final stage, the route through the Gobi desert was not a smooth affair. Despite the tough terrain the Qatari driver clocked a stage time of 2hr 27min and 30sec – 2min and 25sec ahead of his Overdrive Racing teammate Erik Van Loon.
“The first two stages in the Gobi desert were not easy,” said Nasser of the final round. “There were a lot of dunes, camel grass and the average speed was really slow. We took more than four hours to cover the first one and nearly four hours for the second one. I think the organisers had kept these tough stages up their sleeves until the end.”
- Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/ Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 24:25. 29
- Wei Han (CHN)/ Liao Min (CHN) Geely SMG Buggy 25:50.33
- Jerome Pelichet (FRA)/ Pascal Larroque (FRA) Optimus 26:9.08
- Ping Sun (CHN)/ Li Ma (CHN) Hanwei SMG Buggy 26:19.48
- Ming Zhang (CHN)/ Xu Qin (CHN) Hanwei SMG Buggy 27:8.28