Al-Attiyah has no desire to return to 'unfair' Dakar

16-01-2021 12:07 | Updated: 16-01-2021 14:28
Al-Attiyah has no desire to return to 'unfair' Dakar

On Friday, the second edition of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia came to an end. In a thrilling fight between the Mini of Stephane Peterhansel and the Toyota of Nasser Al-Attiyah, Peterhansel was the winner in the end. A result that does not surprise Al-Attiyah at all.

According to the Qatari, the regulations are in favour of the Mini, which is a completely different car than the Toyota. The Mini is a buggy and the Toyota a 4x4, for which completely different regulations apply. Although the buggies do not have four-wheel drive, they are allowed to drive with wider tyres and larger suspension, which is a huge advantage in the desert.

The Mini is therefore not only generally faster, but its smaller wheels mean that the Toyota is more likely to suffer punctures on rocky terrain. "We fight with a 4x4, we have a lot of punctures and the buggy is.... a buggy, it's not a car from any manufacturer," Al-Attiyah told

Mini doesn't even look like a car

That last statement is true. Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz's buggy may have Mini written all over it, but it's not for sale anywhere and it doesn't even resemble any of the brand's models that are in the showroom. Al-Attiyah doesn't want to drive the Mini away, but he does want to compete with equal means. To start with, similar tyres, so that the Toyota suffers less from punctures.

"It's not a question of where the buggy is better and where the 4x4 is better. The rules are not fair, that's all. Not just because of the wheels, there are many things. I hope the organisers will change it, otherwise, we have no interest in coming back," said Al-Attiyah.

Former Dakar star Yutta Kleinschmidt now works for the FIA and acknowledges the problem. "There is a will to change the regulations, at least to start with the possibility to have new tyres. The discussion between ASO and FIA should start soon."

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