YOAN VALAT / EPO
Nasser Al-Attiyah won the 44th Dakar Rally.
The 51-year-old Qatari celebrated his fourth overall victory, having been in the lead from the first stage.
In the short last leg, Al-Attiyah confidently managed his lead in the Toyota.
The nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb (Prodrive) from France finished the Dakar in second place, 27:46 minutes behind.
In third place was Yazeed Al-Rajhi from Saudi Arabia, like Al-Attiyah in a Toyota.
The South African Henk Lategan won the final leg of the rally through the deserts and dunes of Saudi Arabia in a Toyota.
He relegated »Mister Dakar« Stephane Peterhansel (France) to second place in the Audi.
Peterhansel has won the Dakar Rally 14 times.
Audi ended the Dakar with its hybrid cars – in addition to Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and former DTM champion Mattias Ekström (Sweden) were also at the start – with four stage wins.
The overall ranking for the quads was won by Frenchman Alexandre Giroud.
Briton Sam Sunderland triumphed in the motorcycle classification, securing his second overall victory.
It was extremely close: Chilean Pablo Quintanilla was second, 3:27 minutes behind, Matthias Walkner from Austria was third – he was 6:47 minutes longer than Sunderland.
The Dakar was hosted in Saudi Arabia for the third time.
While the dunes and deserts presented the participants with a great sporting challenge, the rally was overshadowed by an incident right at the start.
On December 30, an explosion occurred in the vehicle of Frenchman Philippe Boutron at the start and destination of Jeddah.
The driver suffered serious leg injuries and was temporarily in a coma, but has now woken up and is home.
France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian then spoke of a "possible terrorist attack", and there was also talk of abandoning the Dakar.
The Dakar was relocated from Africa to South America in 2009 after the 2008 rally had to be canceled shortly before its scheduled start for safety reasons.
Driving in Saudi Arabia since 2020.