Nasser Al-Attiyah is the sporting hero of his native Qatar – he’s won the Dakar Rally twice while also excelling in skeet shooting.
Nasser Al-Attiyah is an extremely ambitious rally driver and skeet shooter who’s always motivated to stay top of his game. After winning the Dakar Rally and clinching a bronze medal in the Olympics, he’s now considered an icon of Qatari sports.
His rally driving career has seen him win the Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) in 2006 and the Dakar Rally in 2011 and 2015.
He’s also excelled in the world of clay pigeon shooting, finishing in fourth place in the 2004 Olympic Games and in 15th-place overall in the 2008 Olympic Games. And he hit the big time at the Olympics Games of 2012, when he won the bronze medal.
Nasser’s rise to glory in the Dakar Rally has been astonishing. He finished second in 2010 – just 2m 12s behind Carlos Sainz, which is still the narrowest margin in the history of the race. A year later he went one better and won the competition, becoming the first Arab to do so. But that wasn’t enough and he secured a second Dakar title in style, dominating the 2015 edition of the toughest rally raid event from start to finish in a Mini.
More success came in 2015 for the Qatari speedster and his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel as they won the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup. Then the desert racing duo went to the 2016 Dakar in the X-raid Mini they used to win the race the previous year. But despite a surging performance in the later stages of the race, they had to settle for the second step on the podium behind the Peugeot of Stéphane Peterhansel.
They switched to a Toyota for the 2017 Dakar but were forced to retire after their car suffered an irreparable amount of damage in third stage of the event. It was a bitter pill to swallow as they were in the lead and had already won one stage. But the disappointment only served to make Nasser even more determined to win a third Dakar and he almost achieved that goal in 2018, finishing second at the 2018 Dakar Rally to Carlos Sainz.
He didn't have much longer to wait for that third coveted Dakar cars title, however. His convincing victory in the final South American edition of the event that came the following January was merely the first installment of an all-conquering 2019 for Nasser. In the space of 12 months, he also added the Silk Way Rally, the SxS category at the Afriquia Merzouga Rally, plus various Cross-Country World Cup and Middle East Rally Championship wins.
The 2020 Dakar, with its shift to Saudi Arabia, saw NAsser vying for the lead throughout, but eventually edged out into second, 6m 21s behind Carlos Sainz.
The 2021 edition of the race followed a similar pattern for Nasser, but this time he chased Stéphane Peterhansel all the way to the finish line for another hard-fought second place finish.