Al-Attiyah shows his class on gravel.

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16 January 2015

Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina
Thursday, January 15, 2015

The scenery in Argentina changes as the crews head south to Buenos Aires, but other things don’t: Qatar Rally Team driver Nasser Al-Attiyah punched in yet another fastest stage time – his seventh of the event – to stretch his lead of the Dakar Rally to nearly half an hour by the end of SS11.

Nasser has led the rally since day two and his advantage now stands at 29m01s. He emphasised his leadership by winning the 194-kilometre Salta-Termas de Rio Hondo stage by less than half a minute, even though he and co-driver Matthieu Baumel faced the unenviable task of opening the road and having no tracks to follow, as the motorbikes started the stage from a different point.

Nasser’s intention was to consolidate his advantage rather than push for another fastest time, but less than two hours after starting the stage, he was celebrating another win. As Nasser explained though, it was not so much a question of deliberately pushing hard but instead of not breaking his rhythm:

“It was the right pace for us to go at,” he said. “Sometimes if you take a different pace, a bit faster or a bit slower, you lose your concentration and your focus. I know myself and I know when I am sweating or not: we concentrated on doing our best and carrying on exactly like we had been doing before. In the end that was enough for a stage win.”

Nasser is well known as an all-round Dakar driver. Masterful on the sand dunes, he is equally at home on the fast and twisty WRC-like stages that typified the action today – to be expected of the reigning WRC2 champion.

“It definitely helps to have WRC experience on gravel when doing the Dakar,” he pointed out. “Not just because it is more time driving, but also because you need a very intense concentration for the WRC as the action is coming very fast. For the Dakar you take the same level of concentration, but you have to keep it for longer.”

With two competitive stages left before the finish in Buenos Aires on Saturday, Nasser could potentially add another victory to the win he claimed in 2011. More pressingly, he faces the longest day of the entire rally tomorrow, when the crews clock up 1024 kilometres between Termas de Rio Hondo and Rosario. On the way, there is a 298-kilometre stage with a wide mixture of terrain that contains several hazards, which could still provide a sting in the tail of the 2015 Dakar Rally.

Stay up-to-date with the Qatar Rally Team at, as they look to maintain their serious speed in motorsport’s ultimate test of endurance racing.

Results of SS11:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Qatar Rally Team 1h 53m 10s
2. Orlando Terranova (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) Mini +00:00:27
3. Giniel de Villiers (RSA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota All Speed +00:00:39
4. Benediktas Vanagas (LT)/Andrei Rudnitski (LT) Toyota +00:00:40
5. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) +00:01:16

Overall ranking after SS11:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Qatar Rally Team 37h 12m 47s
2. Giniel de Villiers (RSA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota All Speed +00:29:01
3. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini +01:28:49
4. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Wouter Roesegar (NLD) Mini +02:54:09
5. Christian Lavieille (FRA)/Pascal Maimon (FRA) Toyota +03:04:21
6. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) +03:13:26
7. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) Toyota +03:41:40
8. Carlos Sousa (PRT)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) Mitsubishi +03:44:20
9. Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ)/Anton Nikolaev (RUS) Mini +04:03:09
10. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) SMG +04:26:29














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