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Montevideo, September 26th 2023 - 21:16 UTC



Qatari leading Dakar Rally in Argentina disqualified

Friday, January 9th 2009 - 20:00 UTC
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Dakar Rally leader Nasser Al Attiyah has been kicked out of the gruelling event for missing too many mandatory way points. The BMW driver from Qatar, who won the first and third stages of the 2009 rally in Argentina, led the overall standings by more than seven minutes.

But he violated race rules by skipping nine mandatory way points as his car threatened to overheat on Thursday and has paid the price. The Qatari was leading after the stage to Mendoza from San Rafael, but complained of overheating and a possible cracked cylinder head to his BMW engineers. Only 5 kilometres into the stage that was shortened from 394 to 178 kilometres, Al Attiyah soon found the water temperature rocketing to 130 degrees with the first dunes approaching. Opting to then take a way around the dunes to get to the first Control Point, he and co-driver Tina Thorner ran the risk of missing out on a secret way points that were in the midst of the dunes they had circumnavigated. This now leaves BMW out of the equation and Volkswagen's massive works effort at the top of the tables with former South African Touring Car Champion Giniel de Villiers at the top of the standings ahead of team mate Carlos Sainz and Baja 1000 specialist Mark Miller. Al Attiyah's premature exit came just hours after 2006 champion Luc Alphand withdrew when his co-driver fell ill. Dakar Rally organisers switched the race to Argentina and Chile after the 2007 edition was cancelled because of terrorist fears in Africa. The event has been marred by controversy particularly after the death of French motorcyclist Pascal Terry.

Categories: Tourism, Mercosur.

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