16 Jan 2011

Qatari wins Dakar Rally

7:26 am on 16 January 2011

Qatar's Nasser al-Attiyah has won the Dakar Rally, ending two years of heartache on the gruelling event, while defending champion Carlos Sainz was left with the consolation of taking the 13th and final stage.

Al-Attiyah, who helped Qatar to a shooting gold medal at the Asian Games last November and has also appeared at the Olympics, had virtually wrapped up the title 2 days ago when Sainz's hopes were shattered by a broken suspension.

That cost the former double world rally champion, a Volkswagen teammate of the Qatari, 80 minutes in lost time.

Victory also helped ease Al-Attiyah's misery of being disqualified in 2009 before being edged into second place by Spaniard Sainz in 2010 in a bad-tempered finale when the two men had a spectacular falling out.

South African teammate Giniel de Villiers finished second overall and Sainz third.

Spaniard Marc Coma won his third Dakar motorcycling title.

The event was again run in Chile and Argentina because of security concerns in Africa.