Success at the final stop of the 2021 rally-raid season is all that stands between Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and his latest World Cup triumph. The three-time Dakar winner has come to the Hail Rally in Saudi Arabia looking to bring down the curtain on another remarkable cross-country campaign.
Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) have led the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies since winning the first stop of the season in Andalucia in May. Race wins have followed for the Toyota Hilux pair in Morocco and Abu Dhabi.
Now just a handful of precious championship points are required at the sixth and final stop of the season for the duo to win their fourth World Cup title together, and the fifth of Nasser’s distinguished racing career.
« We have won in Hail before and hopefully the next win is coming very soon. We will do our best, we have a great car and we are going to seek victory. » – Nasser Al-Attiyah
The Hail Rally features 1,000 kilometres of timed racing in Saudi Arabia, less than a month before the country hosts its third edition of the Dakar. Getting even more familiar with the nation’s deserts and dunes is something that Al-Attiyah, Baumel and the rest of the competitors are looking to use to their advantage in Hail.
Laia Sanz (ESP) will be racing on four wheels in Saudi Arabia for the first time. After finishing all 11 Dakars she has previously ridden on a bike – including a Top 10 finish – Sanz now teams up with co-driver Maurizio Gerini (ITA) in a MINI ALL4 Racing. Sanz will be using the four desert stages of the Hail Rally to adapt to her new mode of transport.
« Hail can be very good for me to adapt a little to the car, it will be a test. I am not looking for anything else, just preparing myself. » – Laia Sanz
Also representing six-time Dakar winning manufacturer MINI at the Hail Rally will be Kuba Przygonski (POL)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU). Przygonski won the 2018 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and will be among the pack of drivers looking to deny Al-Attiyah his fourth win of the season.
« This is an important rally before the next Dakar, also in Saudi Arabia. I’m going to give my absolute maximum. » – Kuba Przygonski
The Hail Rally gets started with its first desert stage on Wednesday, December 8. The rally concludes with its fourth and final stage on Saturday, December 11. Then it’s less than a month until the big one, the 2022 Dakar Rally gets started in Hail on Sunday, January 2.
Nasser Al-Attiyah: « We have won in Hail before and hopefully the next win is coming very soon. We will do our best, we have a great car and we are going to seek victory. »
Laia Sanz: « Hail can be very good for me to adapt a little to the car, it will be a test. I am not looking for anything else, just preparing myself. I had always said that my dream was to go to the Dakar with a competitive car and here I am. I’m very excited, but I take it very calmly because in the end people put pressure and a lot is expected. My goal was to go with a competitive and reliable car with which to learn, and this car is ideal. »
Kuba Przygonski: « This is an important rally before the next Dakar, also in Saudi Arabia. I’m going to give my absolute maximum. Only a madman can predict that they will win the next Dakar, you can only say that you will try your best to win. I have been close to the podium before and I also think that I’m improving each season as a driver. The next step is to finally finish on the podium, but to do that I know I must stay humble and always respect the desert. »