Dakar winners Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel back in Abu Dhabi action.

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Abu Dhabi, UAE
Friday, March 27, 2015

Nasser Al-Attiyah is aiming to maintain his remarkable run of results as he arrives at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. At the start of the year the Qatari driver secured his second Dakar Rally victory and earlier this month he started the defence of his WRC2 title in fine style with a win at Rally Mexico. Nasser’s bid for an 11th Middle East Rally Championship is also off to the perfect start as he got the ball rolling with victories in Qatar and Kuwait.

Now Nasser has the dunes of the Liwa Desert in his sights as he looks repeat his 2008 victory at the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup event and make it five wins from five races in 2015. Joining the returning champion in his quest will be French co-driver Mathieu Baumel who has already helped Nasser to recent Dakar, WRC and MERC victories.

There’s stiff competition waiting for the Qatar Rally Team pair in Abu Dhabi as they take their place among 162 entrants from 36 countries who will race across the car, bike and quad categories. Among those out to push Nasser and Mathieu right to the finish line will be Vladimir Vasilyev, fifth in this year’s Dakar and the reigning champion in Abu Dhabi, plus two-time top five Dakar finisher Orly Terranova.

Spectators attending the 25th anniversary edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge are in for a real treat during Saturday’s opening stage which will be held on the tarmac of the Yas Marina Circuit. This 2km prologue will decide the start times for the first of five days of desert racing as well as giving fans a close up look at Nasser and his fellow racers in action.

On Sunday the action moves out to the relentless dunes and desert plains of the Western region of Al Garbia. If Nasser and Mathieu are to get their hands on the top prize they must outsmart their opponents over 1,300km of testing terrain before they can begin to think about a victory lap around Abu Dhabi’s Grand Prix circuit. Working in the Qatar Rally Team duo’s favour are the sandy conditions that characterise this rally, Nasser is world renowned for his dune driving abilities.

Find out more about current Dakar Rally champion and Olympic medallist Nasser Al-Attiyah on


Nasser Al-Attiyah: “We are arriving in Abu Dhabi with the target of winning this race. Winning the Dakar Rally was a great way to start the year and we want to keep on showing that we can carry on winning races. Winning the Dakar twice just gives me more hunger to keep finishing races in first place, when I return to the Dakar next year I want to win again.”

“The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge has lots of sand and we are confident in our abilities of racing over dunes. Driving over dunes is not easy for anybody and there is always more to learn about this type of racing. Coming from Qatar has been a great help to me personally in getting to grips with racing on sand but I like to think there are still improvements I can make to my driving.”

Mathieu Baumel: “Racing WRC and cross-country are two completely different disciplines but they are also very complementary to each other. Having the chance to participate in several championships with different cars and different teams keeps us motivated and helps tremendously with managing stress and decision making during each race.”

“The WRC is all about maintaining speed and staying alert so you can react during the race. Cross-country rally racing tests you more on race management. Moving from one discipline to the other keeps us both very focused on staying at the top.”





RED BULL Motorsports
Vera Dussausaye / International Motorsports Communication

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