Nasser Al-Attiyah, with his explosiveness and ambition, has managed to give Toyota its first Dakar Rally. With a fantastic race, which began with a victory in the first day, short and fast, and that was securing with the regularity that was expected of a man raised in the desert, the Qatari has made the most of the journey of this Dakar 2019, held entirely in Peru and with 70% sandy land.
The 48-year-old Doha driver sentenced the race in the ninth and penultimate stages, with a victory that left the second placed Nani Roma 51 minutes behind. He barely made mistakes in the ten days of competition and only wavered on the second day, when, as the winner of the previous day, he had to open the track in one of the most difficult stages of the race.
After the victories of 2011, with Wolkswagen, and 2015, with Mini, Al-Attiyah is now imposed with Toyota, which has won the battle with its 4×4 to the powerful Mini team and its first swords squad: Sainz, who took revenge his terrible third stage with a victory in this last day – and despite having started with three hours of delay due to mechanical problems in his buggy only one day after what he described as the hardest stage of his life: hundreds of kilometers without power-assisted steering; Peterhansel, who said goodbye to the race after an accident in the last days; o Loeb, who combined exceptional days with other disastrous ones. Only Rome seemed to follow the rhythm, but with a rather conservative race, without any triumph, it is difficult to stand up to the prince of the dunes.
In motorcycles, this Dakar has had as many protagonists as brands wanted to break the hegemony of KTM in the toughest Rally Raid. But neither this year has anyone been able to achieve it. And Toby Price has finished imposing majestically, with a triumph on the last day, threatened as he was by Quintanilla, just a minute away in the general at the beginning of the last day. And despite dragging throughout the race an ailment in the scaphoid after hurting his wrist just a few weeks before the race.
Everyone wanted to beat the KTM, but first Honda, which was losing troops along the way – from Barrera to Brabec, the two leaders of the general when they had to leave – then Yamaha – with the painful abandonment of Van Beveren – and finally Husqvarna, who dreamed of winning the Rally in the last stage thanks to the conviction of Quintanilla, failed in the attempt. The Chilean suffered a fall this Thursday and, although he could finish the race, he did it 22 minutes behind Price. so not only did he not win, but he lost two positions to finally finish fourth. And for KTM to look as usual, with a single-color podium, with Price, Walkner and Sunderland.