Toyota's Al-Attiyah scores dominant Morocco Rally win
Toyota driver Nasser Al-Attiyah dominated from start to finish to claim victory in the 2021 Morocco Rally, as Pablo Quintanilla took top honours in the bikes category.
Joined by navigator Mathieu Baumel, Al-Attiyah reigned supreme once again on Wednesday, winning his fourth stage (out of five) en route to a sixth victory in the last seven editions of the Moroccan rally.
The Qatari driver was behind the wheel of the 2021 version of the Toyota Hilux, which will receive an upgrade as per the T1+ regulations in the Dakar Rally next January.
He beat his Saudi teammate Yazeed Al Rajhi by 15m58s, the only driver to finish less than an hour behind him and the one who beat him on Monday's Stage 4.
On the last special stage, 166km of fast, rocky tracks and several strings of dunes in Erg Chegaga south of Zagora, Jakub Przygonski once again put in a strong performance in the Mini X-Raid buggy to finish 3m42s behind the Qatari, after his technical problems on Stage 1.
Third place in the overall standings went to Argentina's Lucio Alvarez and Spain's Armand Monleon from Toyota Overdrive.
Mattias Ekstrom, who was driving a Mini X-Raid John Cooper Works Rally, sat fourth overall until 62km into today's stage when his car stopped suddenly.
The next round of the FIA Cross-Country World Cup will take place on November 5-11 with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
N. Al Attiyah / M. Baumel
|Toyota Gazoo Racing||15h52:10|
|2||305||Y. Al Rajhi / M. Orr||Toyota Overdrive||15:58|
|3||303||L. Álvarez / A. Monleón||Toyota Overdrive||1h10:52|
R. Chabot / G. Pillot
S. Halpern / B. Graue
|MINI X-Raid buggy||1h34:58|
D. Krotov / K. Zhiltsov
|MSK Rally Team||1h53:26|
A. Domzala / M. Marton
R. Luppi de Oliveira / M. Justo
|9||402||E. Amos / P. Ceci||Can-Am||2h33:51|
JC. Yacopini / Am. Yacopini
Quintanilla wins, Walkner champion
In the motorbike category, Quintanilla completed his second outing in the colours of Honda HRC on the best possible note, winning the last special stage to celebrate overall victory.
On a day featuring 166km of racing against the clock, with a fast start and finish, and 30km of dunes in Erg Chegaga in between, the Chilean was in fine form and took the win from Matthias Walkner (KTM) by 1m59s.
"I am very happy with the victory," said Quintanilla. "It was a very difficult week and I want to thank the whole team for the great job they did. It was fantastic for us.
"Personally, I felt very comfortable, I was riding with a good rhythm, with good navigation and that is very good for my confidence. I am also very motivated for the next objective, which is the Dakar. We are going to take a short break, rest, recharge our batteries and then we will concentrate on the Dakar."
Walkner's result was enough to seal the FIM Cross Country World Championship title with the last round in Abu Dhabi (5-11 November) still to run, after he finished runner-up in the high-speed Rally Kazakhstan and won the Silk Way Rally.
“It’s been a super cool rally for me. I set out this morning hoping to take the win, but I made a small mistake about halfway through that only maybe cost me a minute, but it was enough on the shortened stage to lose out. Second place overall is great though and to win the world championship title early is amazing.
"The team have been great all year, so a big thank you to them. It’s time to relax now and really enjoy the moment," he said.
Daniel Sanders (GasGas) took the third step on the podium, 18s behind the winner on the last day and 5m27s behind in the overall standings following a great run in the last five days.
|5||42||A. van Beveren||Yamaha||18:01|
|10||6||N. Cornejo||Honda HRC||45:19|