Qatar’s al-Attiyah wins third Dakar Rally title

LIMA (AFP): Qatar’s Nasser al-Attiyah cruised to his third Dakar Rally title on Thursday with a 46-minute cushion over second-placed Nani Roma at the end of the world´s toughest rally in Lima.

An Olympic medallist in shooting at the 2012 London Games, al-Attiyah had enough in hand to avoid taking any risks in his Toyota on the 10th and final stage from Pisco to the Peruvian capital, crossing the line a sedate 12th behind Carlos Sainz.

France´s former nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb took third in the overall standings, almost two hours behind the Qatari whose previous wins came in 2011 and 2015.

Al-Attiyah laid down his marker for 2019 honours when rising to the top of the time sheets after the first stage.

And after winning his third stage of this year´s event on Wednesday for his 34th career stage win the title was his, barring final-day disaster.

Stephane Peterhansel, a 13-time Dakar Rally champion, had to quit the race early on Wednesday´s penultimate stage when sitting fourth overall.

Toby Price clinched his second Dakar bikes title on Thursday, the Australian following up his 2016 crown with success in the 10th and final stage.

The KTM rider seized overall command of the bikes category on Tuesday and after crossing the finish line in Lima he took the 2019 honours by over nine minutes from his teammate and defending champion Matthias Walkner.

Price wrapped up his second title in style, taking the closing stage from Pisco to the Peruvian capital with a near two-and-a-half minute advantage over Chilean rider Jose Cornejo.

This was an 18th consecutive bikes title for Austrian bike manufacturer KTM.