Defending occasion winner Al-Attiyah has endured a torrid run within the forty sixth version of Dakar following his switch from Toyota to Prodrive, with a mix of accidents and reliability issues forcing him out of the occasion.
The Qatari driver had been on the again foot since he dropped 25 minutes to the leaders on the opening stage, and his hopes of securing a sixth profession victory formally ended when his Prodrive Hunter took severe damage in a hard landing in the 48-hour chrono test final week.
Al-Attiyah might have nonetheless salvaged some factors within the World Rally-Raid Championship within the second week of Dakar, however an engine breakdown on Monday forced him to withdraw from Stage 8.
He had barely began Tuesday’s Stage 9 when an issue with the rear suspension – which was later identified as a steering drawback by the crew – left him with no choice however to return to the bivouac through highway. He formally pulled out of the rally on the finish of the day.
After reaching the bivouac, the 53-year-old forged doubt on his future with Prodrive, saying he doesn’t want to drive the Hunter once more.
The five-time Dakar winner is set to join Renault brand Dacia in 2025 in a programme that will probably be run by the British organisation.
“I am sorry, I do not need to get again on this automobile,” mentioned Al-Attiyah.
“You recognize, I’ve made up my thoughts, I simply got here to say thanks, and I am going house tonight.
“This yr, for the Dakar, I realized one thing, you recognize, in my life and, yeah, this can by no means occur once more.”
Photograph by: Purple Bull Content material Pool
#200 Nasser Racing Prodrive Hunter: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel
When Al-Attiyah’s Prodrive stablemate Sebastien Loeb was instructed about his reliability issues, the nine-time World Rally champion was left stunned.
“Once more? Mine appears to be effective,” he mentioned.
Al-Attiyah not often suffered any reliability issues throughout his time at Toyota, regardless of a few of his team-mates being slowed down by plenty of points.
Coming into this yr’s Dakar, Al-Attiyah claimed that it was his driving fashion that ensured he prevented the majority of the reliability gremlins that affected different Hiluxes.
“If you happen to have a look at Toyota’s observe document, each automobile has had an issue, besides mine, as a result of the Dakar has its tips, and all of the vehicles are the identical,” he mentioned at the moment.
“Right now, if day-after-day you go to the utmost, you should have an issue, however you might want to take into consideration all the things going to the restrict, it is not in regards to the reliability of the Toyota or the Hunter, no.
“If you happen to have a look at the historical past of Toyota, we had greater than fifteen vehicles each version and all of them had setbacks, aside from mine. That is my secret, I am unable to inform you, I have to preserve it as a result of it is crucial to deal with your automobile, to have a great place and velocity, in any other case you’ll break it.”
Al-Attiyah gained three of his 5 Dakar titles with Toyota, together with two in a row from 2022-23 previous to his swap to Prodrive.