Al Attiyah unbeatable in the Dakar Rally 2022

  • Nasser Al Attiyah, tied with Ari Varane, becomes the second driver with most Dakar victories
  • The introduction of the T1+ category levels the playing field and allows Nasser to showcase all his talent

The 44th edition of the Dakar Rally was held for the third consecutive year in Saudi Arabia, with new routes and more sand than ever before. 12 tough stages and a total of 8,177km set the course for the new FIA Rally-Raid World Rally Championship. In this edition, more than 1,065 competitors and 578 vehicles set off from Jeddah on 31 December.

Nasser Al Attiyah won the Dakar with a level far above the rest of the field. The prince of the dunes, 12 minutes ahead of Sébastien Loeb from day one, secured his victory after two punctures by Loeb on stage 3 and a transmission failure made Nasser’s Toyota GR DKR Hilux uncatchable.

An edition with significant changes

Nasser Al Attiyah was faced with new developments, not only a new route, but also new regulations for the cars.

The Dakar promoter, ASO, changed the car regulations, dividing the T1 category into T1-Ultimate, which included the three Audi RS Q e-tron cars, and T1+, which included the Toyota Hilux with Nasser on the front row and the Prodrive team’s BRX Hunter with Loeb and Nani Roma.

A Dakar without mistakes

The driver and his team completely changed their strategy to a more conservative one in order to maintain the lead throughout the race and complete it without any mistakes.

The only setback Nasser encountered was on the eighth stage, when the rear differential broke when they started a 200km stretch of dunes that they managed to negotiate with only two driven wheels, reducing losses and not getting stuck even once.

Allatyah showed impeccable driving skills, but the driver said it was his co-driver, Matthieu Beumel, who won half of the Dakar after changing the direction of one of the routes at the last moment and the mutual trust that comes from the many races they do together during the year rewarded them with the well-deserved victory, their second with Toyota and their first in Saudi Arabia.

In his third attempt in Saudi Arabia, Al Attiyah managed to beat most of his rivals such as Carlos Sainz and Nani Roma, who got lost at the last way point and were out of the running from the first day.

Nasser, who has thus extended his Dakar history by winning his fourth Dakar title, equalling the Finn Ari Varane and sharing the position of the second driver in history with the most Dakars.