Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah in action during FIA sixth round of the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah set the fastest time on the short final stage of the Hail Cross-Country Rally to secure a fifth FIA World Cup Drivers’ Championship title in emphatic style on Saturday.
Mathematically, the Qatari had won the title after recording two stage wins earlier in the event, but he and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel pressed on regardless in their Toyota Hilux to record three stage wins and a winning margin of 21min 51sec over the Russian duo of Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov. The success also marked their fourth FIA World Cup title together after three successive wins between 2015 and 2017.
Attiyah said: "It was a good last stage and completely different to the first three. It was all gravel through the mountains. It was fantastic and we are obviously very happy with the result.
“I am so happy to win this race and to win the World Cup title. It was a great win. This was the last time for me in this car. The next step will be the T1+ in Dakar!”
Argentina’s Sebastien Halpern managed to overhaul Vladimir Vasilyev on the final stage to snatch the last place on the podium in the second of the X-raid Mini Buggies. Fellow countryman Lucio Alvarez may have missed out on the Drivers’ title to Attiyah, but his consolation was the third fastest time on the last stage, fifth overall and the runner-up spot in the championship in his Overdrive Racing Toyota.
Poland’s Jakub Przygonski was second quickest on the 148km final section, but a drive shaft issue had cost the Mini Buggy driver a potential podium on Friday and he finished in sixth place. Spaniard Laia Sanz brought her Mini home in a fine eighth overall, as she prepares for the forthcoming Dakar Rally with the X-raid team.
Peterhansel is the most decorated driver at the Dakar Rally, having won an unprecedented 13 titles. His 14th win and record eighth in a car are pending on the last stage back to Jeddah, where the rally in Saudi Arabia started 11 days ago.
The 55-year-old Mini driver, aided by co-pilot Edouard Boulanger, finished 14min 51sec ahead of Qatari Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota), with Spain's Carlos Sainz — winner of Friday's 12th and final stage from Yanbu to Jeddah — rounding out the podium in another Mini.
Qatari driver Nasser Al Attiyah won the third stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, holding off the challenge of French arch-rival Stephane Peterhansel. The three-time winner of the Dakar sped through a 403km loop around
"I am an amateur, I don't want to win but to discover landscapes that I would never have had the opportunity to see otherwise," he said earlier, according to the statement. "Everything is exciting: riding the bike, living your passion, getting to know yourself."
Continuing their winning streak at international horse championships, Al Sheikh Stud, the region’s most honored name for purebred Arabian horses, made the country proud by bringing home ‘The Golden Champion’ title.
ECB recently recognised the superb victories secured in June’s ICC Under-19 Women's World Cup Qualifier and the Asian Cricket Council Women’s T20 Championship by awarding each member of both teams with a Dhs.5,000 bonus.
"I am very positive about Pakistan’s chances of winning the World Cup, the way they are playing and performing. If you see the ICC rankings top five slots are occupied by Pakistani players. It has never happened in the past,” said Afridi.