Al-Attiyah expects to compete with Loeb for Dakar win

Nasser Al-Attiyah believes that the tight margins between him and Sebastien Loeb indicate close competition for the 2022 Dakar Rally.

Loeb took the victory of stage 2, finishing 3 and a half minutes quicker than Al-Attiyah. However, the Toyota driver still leads Loeb by 9 minutes and 16 seconds in the overall rankings.

Al-Attiyah feels they have the pace to win overall, but not without a hard fight from Loeb.

“We hit a stone in the last 10 kilometers,” Al-Attiyah said, commenting on the events of stage 2. “We were in front of Seb, but after that, we had to let him go. We decided to not continue pushing to avoid losing two or three minutes extra.

“But I’m quite happy with this stage and opening all the way. It wasn’t easy because the tracks of the bikes were a little bit difficult for us, but it looks like we are in a good way.

“I think it will be us two until the end fighting, but there’s still a long way. It looks like the performance of the T1+ is really fantastic. We are really enjoying what we have.

“Like last year, the BRXs are running the same engine and I am sure they have a lot more data this time, but there’s still a long way.

“Yesterday, we did a good job and today also we did a good job. Tomorrow if we start behind Seb, I don’t know who will win the stage, but tomorrow it also looks like it will be a good run for us. But I think some big surprises are also coming, that’s my feeling.

“Seb is really fast and is not far behind us, so it’s easier for him to follow. But in the last 10 kilometers, we had a puncture and he went ahead, but we decided to continue in a way to avoid losing more minutes.”

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