Nasir Al Attiyah in action during the Hail Baja 2 on Wednesday.
Gulf Today Report
Toyota’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel stormed to a victory at the 2020 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas at Hail Baja 2 to claim the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ titles on Wednesday.
Attiyah produced a stellar performance not only to cut the deficit of the overnight leader Carlos Sainz but also emerged the outright winner to bag the driver’s title.
Trailing Sainz and Lucas Cruz by 2min 20sec at the restart, Attiyah began to eat into the stage-opening Spaniard’s lead, knowing that outright victory should give After the victory, Attiyah expressed his delight, saying: "I feel good to win Baja 1 and Baja 2,” who won the FIA World Cup for Bajas title for the first time back in 2008.
"We also won the title. "This is very important. I am quite happy to win these two races. All the top drivers are here. Now we have a good car and good confidence. We push a lot. We need to be really strong. We needed to win. We passed Carlos, the last 20km.”
Over the day’s short desert section of 180.38km to the north-west of Hail, 33 seconds of Sainz’s overnight lead was eroded after 69km and 46 seconds had gone by 95km.
After 121km, 68 seconds of the advantage had been devoured but Attiyah was running out of kilometres to overturn the deficit.
As Sainz agonizingly lost vital seconds trying to find a tricky late waypoint, the Toyota driver stormed through the closing kilometres to claim a 54-second win that was sufficient to confirm the 2020 FIA Baja titles.
Baumel added: "It looks like we won the Baja World Cup. It was not the goal at the beginning of this race, but we are happy with the set-up of the car we will use at the next Dakar. When you fight with Carlos and Stéphane it is not easy.
"It is the first time we win this Baja Cup together. The rally was not easy. It was good training.”
Sainz and X-raid team-mate Stéphane Peterhansel settled for second and third places on the podium in the new Mini John Cooper Works Buggies, the Frenchman taking the second fastest time on the day’s stage.
Jamila Ibrahim from Pink Caravan awarded the teams of the day with Petra Spanko as the Most Valuable Player and Sublime, ridden by Kim Roche, as the Best Playing Pony. Two Best Dressed Ladies in pink were recognised and received prizes worth up to Dhs4,000 each.
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The FIA and MIT will work with relevant stakeholders like Formula One Management, the Yas Marina Circuit, and local governments, which will play a pivotal role in data collection efforts and future implementation.
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