Nasser Al Attiyah extended his overall cars lead in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge while Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla grabbed a slender advantage after a fascinating bikes tussle between three of the world’s top riders Monday.
Accompanied by French co-driver Mathieu Baumel in a new Toyota Hilux, Al-Attiyah won the 279km Nissan Patrol Stage to increase his overnight advantage to 10 mins 21 secs over Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al Rajhi and German co-driver Timo Gotschalk in a Mini All4Racing.
A satisfied Al-Attiyah said: “It was a very difficult stage, needing a lot of concentration on the dunes and there were some very sharp ones. Driving the new car in the sand dunes was a very good experience. The Toyota is working very well, despite having less torque than the Mini. Today I gave my 100 per cent and I’m very happy to finish with such a lead.”
Russia’s Vladimir Vasilyev maintained hopes of a third successive Desert Challenge triumph in a Mini by climbing one place to third. However, at 13 mins 30 secs off the pace, he will surely require Al Attiyah to find problems in order to achieve the hat-trick.
After having to replace the gearbox on his Mini before the start of the stage, the UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi was unable to improve on his ninth place overall.