Skeet champion Al-Attiyah wins second Dakar Rally title
The 44-year-old Qatari, who won the skeet bronze at London 2012, just took his second Dakar Rally title
Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah, a bronze medallist in skeet shooting at the London 2012 Olympic Games, won his second Dakar Rally title, after his triumph in the 2011 edition. The 44-year-old driver and shooter became the seventh multiple champion in the history of the world's most popular off-road endurance race, formerly known as the “Paris-Dakar Rally.”
Al-Attiyah, the Qatar Rally Team driver, dominated the race throughout its 13 stages. After losing the lead he had gained in the first stage due to a penalty, he took it back the next day and eventually never lost it. Driving 9,000 kilometers (5,592 miles) through Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia in two weeks, Al-Attiyah won the competition with over 35 minutes of advantage on Giniel de Villiers, the runner-up.
Driving and shooting worked together to build this success, Al-Attiyah explained. “In all of these disciplines,” he said, “you have to believe in yourself and keep your nerve.” As a shooter, before winning bronze at London 2012 Al-Attiyah was fourth at Athens 2004, and fifteenth at Beijing 2008.
“Shooting helps me to concentrate and to give my best on the rally tracks” Al-Attiyah said after winning his first Dakar Rally title in 2011. “Practicing two sports helps me to be more concentrated and focused, and at the same time allows me to release the pressure.”
“I love shooting, and somehow I prefer it to rally driving,” Al-Attiyah then said. “While shooting, at the Games or at ISSF World Championship, I am representing my country: I compete for Qatar’s flag, my flag!” Al-Attiyah is a veteran of the Asian Shooting Championship, a competition that gave him five medals during his career.