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Volkswagen's Al-Attiyah Wins 2011 Dakar Rally

Source: | Published: Sun Jan 16, 2011

Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah clinched his maiden Dakar Rally victory after long-time leader Carlos Sainz lost a lot of ground in sand dunes on stage eight earlier this week. Sainz tried to fight back only to suffer even worse delays with various damaged components on stages 10 and 11, pushing him back to third in an all-VW podium behind Giniel de Villiers.

"It means a lot to win a Dakar, for me, for my people, for my country and for my team. It is a great victory. It's hard to explain everything that goes through your head. But it is a very nice feeling," said Al-Attiyah.

He also hopes the result will help put Qatar on the world motorsport map.

"I think that now people will finally know where Qatar is located," Al-Attiyah joked.

Second place on yesterday's final 181-kilometer blast back to Buenos Aires gave Al-Attiyah a final winning margin of nearly 50 minutes over de Villiers, who was in turn half an hour clear of Sainz.

X-Raid BMW driver Stephane Peterhansel had been in thick of a three-way battle with Sainz and Al-Attiyah during the first week of the event, before a series of punctures saw him lose touch with the lead fight, and eventually fall right back to finish in fourth place.

His team-mate Krzysztof Holowczyc completed the final top five, ahead of VW's fourth works driver Mark Miller, as the leading drivers cruised to the finish without incident.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah Volkswagen 21h16m16s
2. Giniel de Villiers Volkswagen + 49m41s
3. Carlos Sainz Volkswagen + 1h20m38s
4. Stephane Peterhansel BMW + 1h43m48s
5. Krzysztof Holowczyc BMW + 4h11m21s
6. Mark Miller Volkswagen + 4h54m42s
7. Ricardo Leal dos Santos BMW + 6h50m07s
8. Christian Lavieille Nissan + 7h57m18s
9. Guilherme Spinelli Mitsubishi + 8h23m37s
10. Matthias Kahle SMG + 15h11m56s

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