“Dakar” victors Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk win “home rally”

Nasser Al-Attiyah and his co-driver Timo Gottschalk made a victorious showing in the Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 at the Ha’il Rally through Saudi Arabia.

The rally in the country that neighbours Al-Attiyah’s native Qatar on the west marked the duo’s first run after their triumphant victory at the Dakar Rally through South America with Volkswagen in January 2011. Al-Attiyah and Gottschalk used the Ha’il Rally as an opportunity to present themselves and the 310-hp cross-country rally prototype from Wolfsburg to the numerous Arab fans. On three days the rally route covered a total distance of 400 kilometres around the town of Maghwat in Central Saudi Arabia. Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk kept firm control of the prologue and the two special stages which featured smaller dunes and quick sandy stretches. The Volkswagen duo won the event ahead of Mtair Al Shamary and Saleh Al Saleh (both Toyota). For the Race Touareg, this was the 16th overall win at its 31st rally.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
“We are pleased that we had the opportunity to present the ‘Dakar’ winner in the region he hails from – as well as to the many rally enthusiasts in the Arab region. Nasser Al-Attiyah and his co-driver Timo Gottschalk left a good impression of Volkswagen in Saudi-Arabia and demonstrated the technological fortes of the Race Touareg at this very well organised rally. But above all, the crowd of rally fans gave Nasser Al-Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk a very warm welcome. All in all, it was a short but successful rally for us.”
#1 – Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 1st place, stages, 1st place overall
“I contested the Ha’il Rally two years ago, so I was pleased to accept the organiser’s invitation to compete here. The Ha’il is a very well organised event down to the smallest detail. To drive in front of the Arab fans as the ‘Dakar’ winner and to be cheered by them at the start and finish is obviously a very special thing. Thanks to some smaller dunes as well as stony sections the rally was good practice for my co-driver Timo Gottschalk and me.”
#1 – Timo Gottschalk (D), co-driver
“Navigating at the Ha’il Rally was certainly tricky. Compared to the ‘Dakar’ there was a stronger focus on GPS navigation and less on reading the roadbook. The route took us through some really beautiful landscapes – through mountainous passages on gravel but also through the soft sand of some smaller dunes. In addition, we got to see a lot of the country and the people at the service park that was specially built for this rally. And from a sporting perspective it was a successful excursion into the Arab rally world as well.”