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Dakar Rally 2019: Nasser Al-Attiyah wins title; maiden Dakar victory for Toyota

January 18, 2019, 06:05 PM IST by Bilal Ahmed Firfiray
Dakar Rally 2019: Nasser Al-Attiyah wins title; maiden Dakar victory for Toyota

Nasser Al-Attiyah won the 2019 Dakar Rally and sealed the first ever title for Toyota. This is the third Dakar win for the Qatari after the 2011 victory with Volkswagen and 2015 with Mini. In this second season with Toyota Gazoo Racing, Attiyah was leading the general classification throughout the championship (except the second stage) and finished the 41st edition of Dakar with an overall timing of 34:38:14 seconds. 

The 48-year-old rally ace had a near flawless season and benefited greatly from the difficulties faced by his competitors throughout the race. He finished a respectable 46 minutes and 42 seconds ahead of X-Raid’s Nani Roma. Roma didn’t register a single stage win this year but his consistent performance helped him finish second in the overall standing. 

Nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb rounded off the podium after participating as a privateer this year. Driving his Peugeot 3008 DKR, Loeb had his fair share of problems with his car and tough terrains. But his superior pace and four stage win guaranteed the Frenchman his second podium after last year. 

Defending champion Carlos Saiz won the last stage of Dakar 2019. After his dreams of getting back the title was lost during a tragic Stage 3, he was left assisting his teammates throughout the season. Coming in second and third in Stage 10 was Loeb and Cyril Despres, and the latter posted the best finish of the three X-Raid's Mini Buggies at fifth in the overall standing. Jakub Przygonski – who finished fifth in the tenth stage – settled for his best Dakar finish yet in fourth place for X-Raid Mini. 

Saudi’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Chile’s Boris Garafulic managed a place in the top ten ahead of Toyota’s Geniel de Villiers and Ronan Chabot. Thirteen-time Dakar champion Stephan Peterhansel was ruled out of competition in the penultimate stage after his co-driver David Castera suffered from a back injury when their car crashed over a hard-hitting terrain. 

Russia’s Denis Krotov was the Best Rookie this year and he finished 15th in the overall standing. Meanwhile, Christian Lavieille of France was the best in the T2 Class (which includes cross-country series production vehicles). This is Lavieille’s second T2 win after 2017.

The 2019 Dakar began with 334 vehicles in Lima on 7 January which included 126 cars. Only 179 vehicles managed to complete the 10 stages this year, of which just 56 cars finished. 

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