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Qatar’s Al-Attiyah and Spain’s Coma Win 2011 Dakar Rally

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Rally Racing Topics:  Dakar Rally

Qatar’s Al-Attiyah and Spain’s Coma Win 2011 Dakar Rally

Topics:  Dakar Rally, Nasser Al Attiyah, Marc Coma
VOA Breaking News (Voice of America)
January 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah has won the 2011 edition of the Dakar Rally, which was held in South America for a third consecutive year because of safety concerns and the possibility of a terrorist attack in Africa. The two-week, 9,500 kilometer race wound through Argentina and Chile.

Al-Attiyah clinched his first Dakar title Saturday following a second place finish in the 13th and final stage from Cordoba to the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires. He topped a podium sweep for Volkswagen's Race Touareg team. A celebration to salute the winners and mark the official end of the race is Sunday in Buenos Aires.

South African driver Giniel de Villiers was second, finishing 49 minutes, 41 seconds behind Al-Attiyah in the overall standings. Defending champion Carlos Sainz of Spain settled for third overall, but he won Saturday's 826 kilometer trek. Sainz edged Al-Attiyah by two minutes overall for the 2010 Dakar crown.

Spain's Marc Coma won the motorcycle category riding a KMT for his third career Dakar title. He also won the race in 2009 and 2006.

Coma was ahead of KMT teammate and defending champion Cyril Depres of France, who also took the championship in 2007 and 2005. Portugal's Helder Rodrigues was third astride a Yamaha.

The Dakar Rally was moved to South America from its traditional route through the Sahara Desert in North Africa in 2009. The race was cancelled in Africa in 2008 after suspected al Qaida terrorists in December 2007 shot and killed four French tourists and seriously wounded another in Mauritania .

In May 2010, a court in Mauritania sentenced to death three men convicted of the 2007 killings. All three claim to be members of a northern African branch of al Qaida.

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