Attiyah set to defend Dakar Rally crown

Nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb will add some extra spice to this year’s Dakar Rally in which Qatari Nasser al Attiyah will bid to defend his title in Argentina and Bolivia.

The Frenchman will seek to follow in the footsteps of Ari Vatanen, who won the Dakar in his first attempt in 1987, back when it was raced in Africa.

After Peru pulled out as one of the hosts of this edition in August, citing concerns over the El Nino weather phenomenon, the rally will be raced in Argentina and Bolivia, an 11km prologue kicking off proceedings on Saturday. Loeb has been racing in the World Touring Car Championship since effectively retiring from WRC rallying after the last of his nine consecutive world titles in 2012.

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