Al-Attiyah Takes Pride in First Dakar Win

Needless to say, his maiden Dakar Rally victory in career is top of the list when talking about the motorsport achievements of Qatari rally driver Nasser Al-Attiyah. The Volkswagen competitor drove a mistake free event in the last couple of weeks and managed to keep his cool from beginning to end, ending the South American race almost 50 minutes ahead of nearest rival, 2009 Dakar winner and VW teammate Giniel de Villiers.

Sharing some thoughts to the media after his victorious finish in the 2011 Dakar, Al-Attiyah emphasized not only what this win means to him, but also how he hopes will boost motor racing in his native country.

It is a great victory. It's hard to explain everything that goes through your head. But it is a very nice feeling,” said the driver who had attempted to win the event 5 more times in the past with X-Raid BMW and VW. His last couple of outings in the rally were tough to swallow, as he was disqualified in 2009 due to missing some check points (while leading the rally), and finished only 2 minutes behind teammate Carlos Sainz in 2010.

This time, it was Sainz who experienced a strong start in the Dakar Rally, only to surrender in the second week of action due to problems with his Touareg. The same happened to X-Raid BMW's Stephane Peterhansel, as the duo finished more than one hour behind Al-Attiyah.

It means a lot to win a Dakar, for me, for my people, for my country and for my team,” continued the VW racer. “I think that now people will finally know where Qatar is located.”

While Sainz embraced his result in the 2011 Dakar and insisted he is not disappointed with the outcome of the event, Dakar legendary driver Peterhansel blamed his own mistakes for the failed campaign this year.

On week one, we were there. We were just a few minutes behind the leaders but it all went downhill from there... because of my mistakes. There were navigation mistakes, and of course some technical problems. And in the end, we are not doing better than last year: we are fourth,” said the Frenchman.
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