Qatar''s Al Attiyah wins 1st stage of Dakar Rally
BUENOS AIRES: Qatar''s Nasser Al Attiyah won the first stage of the Dakar Rally on Saturday, a 231-mile dusty run in which he held off a posse of Volkswagens led by former world champion Carlos Sainz.
Al Attiyah, winner of the UAE Desert Challenge, completed the leg in his BMW from Buenos Aires south to Santa Rosa in 2 hours, 36 minutes, 15 seconds. "It was a fairly easy route but still quite fast," Al Attiyah said. "However, it didn''t feel like I had to push it to the limit during the race."
The 30th Dakar Rally — and the first outside Africa — features 177 cars, 217 motorcycles, 81 trucks and 25 quad bikes with drivers from 49 countries. After 14 stages and 5,950 miles, it will finish Jan. 18 in Buenos Aires. The 2008 race was canceled because of possible terrorist attacks in Mauritania.