Riyadh, 11 January 2024 - Qatar's defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah ignored strategic slowdowns and won the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia taking him into second place behind home favourite Yazeed Al-Rajhi.
The stage victory was the first this year for five-times Dakar winner Al-Attiyah, whose Prodrive Hunter finished 1 min 51 sec ahead of French Toyota driver Guerlain Chicherit.
Al Rajhi was fourth-fastest over the sand dunes on the 118km stage from Al-Hofuf to Shubaytah that saw several top contenders ease off to gain a later start on Thursday so as to follow the tracks left by the leading vehicles.
The Saudi retained the overall lead, 9 min 3 sec clear of Al-Attiyah, with Audi’s Carlos Sainz dropping to third.
“There was no strategy on my part. I wanted to win the stage no matter what they have in store for us tomorrow,” said Al-Attiyah.
He has now won Dakar stages with seven different constructors over the course of his career.