Attiyah wins fifth FIA World Cup Drivers’ Championship crown in Hail

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Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah in action during FIA sixth round of the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah set the fastest time on the short final stage of the Hail Cross-Country Rally to secure a fifth FIA World Cup Drivers’ Championship title in emphatic style on Saturday. 

 

Mathematically, the Qatari had won the title after recording two stage wins earlier in the event, but he and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel pressed on regardless in their Toyota Hilux to record three stage wins and a winning margin of 21min 51sec over the Russian duo of Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov. The success also marked their fourth FIA World Cup title together after three successive wins between 2015 and 2017.

 

Attiyah said: “It was a good last stage and completely different to the first three. It was all gravel through the mountains. It was fantastic and we are obviously very happy with the result.

 

“I am so happy to win this race and to win the World Cup title. It was a great win. This was the last time for me in this car. The next step will be the T1+ in Dakar!”

Argentina’s Sebastien Halpern managed to overhaul Vladimir Vasilyev on the final stage to snatch the last place on the podium in the second of the X-raid Mini Buggies. Fellow countryman Lucio Alvarez may have missed out on the Drivers’ title to Attiyah, but his consolation was the third fastest time on the last stage, fifth overall and the runner-up spot in the championship in his Overdrive Racing Toyota.

 

Poland’s Jakub Przygonski was second quickest on the 148km final section, but a drive shaft issue had cost the Mini Buggy driver a potential podium on Friday and he finished in sixth place. Spaniard Laia Sanz brought her Mini home in a fine eighth overall, as she prepares for the forthcoming Dakar Rally with the X-raid team.

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