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Al-Attiyah switching to Prodrive Hunter to defend Dakar Rally title

Five-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah has confirmed his return to for the 2024 edition of the world’s toughest rally in a new ride — a Prodrive Hunter.

“The Prodrive Hunter is a sensational car. I think after three trips already to the Dakar and two second-place finishes, now it’s time for this car to win the Dakar,” said Al-Attiyah. “During the last two years the Hunter car has finished in second position at the Dakar with Seb (Sebastien Loeb) driving. I think with both me and Seb driving, this will be a really strong team at the next Dakar.”

The Qatari driver will return to Saudi Arabia next January to race his 20th edition of the Dakar Rally. His first Dakar win came in 2011 and he followed that up with two more victories in South America (2015 and 2019). Since the Dakar’s switch to the Middle East there have been two more wins for Al-Attiyah in Saudi Arabia (2022 and ’23).

Al-Attiyah not only has the chance to make it three wins on the spin at the 2024 Dakar, but he’ll also be attempting to make the Prodrive Hunter the fourth different car he has driven to victory at the rally.

“For me it would be a third consecutive win and the fourth different manufacturer I’ve taken to victory at the Dakar,” Al-Attiyah said. “I want to make myself part of Dakar history and the best way to do that is to win with four different brands.”

Riding shotgun with Al-Attiyah at his four most recent Dakar wins has been co-driver Mathieu Baumel. This duo’s understanding of each other seems telepathic at times as Baumel reads the roadbook and Al-Attiyah steers them over the dunes. The pair’s success has not been limited to the Dakar — they’re also winners of the 2022 and 2023 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship driver and co-driver titles. Al-Attiyah and Baumel will race next year’s FIA World Rally-Raid Championship in the Prodrive Hunter.

In addition to rally wins all over the globe, Al-Attiyah is the only driver at the Dakar with an Olympic medal. He won bronze for Qatar at the men’s skeet shooting event in London in 2012, and aims to return to the Olympics in Paris next summer.

“2024 is looking like a special year,” he said Not only do I have the chance to go to my seventh Olympic Games, but I also have a shot at winning the Dakar with a fourth different manufacturer.”

The Dakar’s fifth edition in Saudi Arabia is set for Jan. 5-19. The 5,000 kilometers/3,100 miles of racing distance spread across 12 timed special stages departs from the thousand-year-old city of Al Ula, crossing the country in the direction of the Empty Quarter and finishing in Yanbu on the shores of the Red Sea.

 

Story originally appeared on Racer