JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Nasser Al-Attiyah clinched his fourth Dakar Rally title on Friday in Jeddah right after main from the initial phase on New Year’s Working day.

Al-Attiyah could pay for to let nearest rival Sebastien Loeb, the previous nine-time rally planet champion, defeat him by more than five minutes on the 12th and final sandy stage from Bisha and continue to cruise to general victory by additional than 27 minutes. The Qatari beforehand received in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

British rider Sam Sunderland won his 2nd Dakar motorcycle title just after beating phase winner Pablo Quintanilla of Chile by 3 1/2 minutes, the closest margin since 1994.

But the rally’s conclusion was overshadowed by the highway crash dying of a support employees member from the PH Activity team on a liaison route.

Quentin Lavalée, aged 20 of France, was killed when the auto he was driving collided with a community truck, law enforcement informed Dakar Rally organizers. A passenger with Lavalée, Maxime Frere of Belgium, was wounded and taken to a Jeddah clinic. Lavalee was a main mechanic.

Al-Attiyah was runner-up in the previous two Dakars in Saudi Arabia, and focused on rallying in the past year with no sharing time with activity taking pictures or powerboating. Plagued by punctures on the Dakar, he good-tuned a Toyota with greater tires and suspension and came to Saudi having won 7 rallies.

His biggest rivals struck difficulty early. Defending winner Stephane Peterhansel dropped a rear wheel and 3-time champ Carlos Sainz made a lousy navigation mistake. Loeb’s generate shaft broke and by the relaxation working day a 7 days in the past, Al-Attiyah experienced a 50-minute direct.

Loeb desperately chipped at the gap in research of his to start with Dakar title but Al-Attiyah and co-driver Matthieu Baumel expertly averted issues.

“It was an unbelievable Dakar for us. The whole race went without a hitch,” Al-Attiyah explained. “We opened up a gap on the initially day and have considering the fact that managed our lead. We are definitely happy, and I reckon we’ll start out contemplating of the following Dakar in a 7 days or 10 days.”

Al-Attiyah’s fourth Dakar tied him for second most with Ari Vatanen. Peterhansel leads with eight.

Loeb’s second position matched his 2017 final result in Argentina.

“We in no way stopped attacking, so we have no regrets,” Loeb mentioned. “Nasser has tons of expertise and a co-driver who only would make blunders once in a blue moon, so he controlled the race to perfection. I however had a blast, however, since just about every time we attained time on him, it felt good.”

Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi was 3rd for his very first Dakar podium at his eighth try.

Sunderland’s preparing was not excellent. Driving for his new staff GasGas, he had a poor crash at the Rally Kazakhstan and retired sick from the Morocco Rally. Still, he led all over the first 7 days of the Dakar and when he was challenged in the 2nd week, timed his winning operate to perfection.

“I experienced a fairly rough season, but when you acquire the Dakar, it truly is all worthy of it,” Sunderland mentioned.

Quintanilla was runner-up for the next time in three Dakars.

“It was physically and mentally exhausting. But I am truly happy with my efficiency,” Quintanilla stated.

Austrian rider Matthias Walkner, the 2018 champion and 2 times runner-up, was nearly 7 minutes again in 3rd overall which, he claimed, “practically feels like a victory.”

Sunderland’s brother-in-law, Adrien van Beveren of France, was fourth, and Joan Barreda of Spain fifth while carrying a shoulder injury.

Mason Klein, the 20-yr-previous American on debut, was ninth, 13 seconds in advance of two-time winner Toby Value of Australia.

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