Nasser Al-Attiyah captured the prologue portion of the Dakar Rally Saturday in Saudi Arabia. (Red Bull Photo)
Nasser Al-Attiyah captured the prologue portion of the Dakar Rally Saturday in Saudi Arabia. (Red Bull Photo)

Al-Attiyah Leads The Way During Dakar Prologue

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah paced Saturday’s Dakar Rally prologue in the car category to start the annual event on a positive note. 

Al-Attiyah completed the 19km prologue between Jeddah and Ha’il in 10 minutes and 56 seconds. It’s a good start for Al-Attiyah, who is looking to win his fourth Dakar Rally crown.

“It was a short stage today,” said Al-Attiyah. “I’m quite happy to win because it’s good for our starting position tomorrow. I’m happy with the performance of our new car. The team’s hard work is helping us a lot.”

Carlos Sainz was second, 12 seconds behind Al-Attiyah at the completion of the stage in his new Audi. Brian Baragwanath was third in the car category.

In the bike class, GasGas rider Daniel Sanders was the fastest competitor to the prologue finish line. Event officials multiplied the finishing times by a factor of five to avoid risky strategy, meaning Sanders’ official finishing order was 55 minutes and 30 seconds. 

“It was a pretty fast day. The prologue went really clean for me,” Sanders said. “It’s great to be back here in Saudi Arabia and racing on this terrain again. At the moment I’m leading so that’s good. I’m excited to carry on and today was good to shake off some nerves.”

Pabio Quinanilla finished second, a full minute behind Sanders. Ross Branch was third, nearly two minutes behind Sanders.

In trucks, Eduard Nikolaev bested Dmitry Sotnikov by seven seconds. American Seth Quintero topped the lightweight prototype division.

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