Monday, March 4, 2024

Nasser Al-Attiyah following Prodrive to Dacia in 2025

Dacia‘s return to the Dakar Rally in 2025 will come with a talented trio as Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez will be joined by Nasser Al-Attiyah.

The move, announced Tuesday, is more a formality as Al-Attiyah has already entered the Prodrive programme for the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship onwards. Prodrive currently fields the Hunter via Bahrain Raid Xtreme before linking up with Dacia to provide technical support. Loeb and Gutiérrez won the 2022 Extreme E championship with X44, which had a partnership with Prodrive for two seasons; they were announced as Dacia drivers in July.

Al-Attiyah and Loeb were rivals and two of the top drivers in the W2RC, finishing first and second in the inaugural championship in 2022. The former repeated the feat in 2023 while also claiming his fifth Dakar Rally victory before departing Toyota Gazoo Racing at season’s end. He joined Prodrive in October and won for the first time in a Hunter at the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas’ season finale in Dubai.

“I’m really so happy to be a part of the Dacia family,” said Al-Attiyah. “It really is a nice brand. I see this brand everywhere in the world and I want to work for this brand in my region and in the Middle East. I think we have a good brand and I will try to do my best. It’s a good idea to compete in Dakar with a nice brand like Dacia. I think it will be a really good team and strong and will try to win from first year.

“It is a dream team, a lot of respect for Sébastien Loeb and Christina. I have a good relation with both drivers and we are very strong. Our aim is to win with this beautiful brand Dacia.”

While racing a Hunter like Loeb, Al-Attiyah will compete under his Nasser Racing banner rather than with BRX. The duo will contest the rest of the W2RC in the Hunter before making their début with Dacia at the season-ending Rallye du Maroc in October. The manufacturer has not announced the car model, though they are expected to field the new Dacia Manifesto rather than the Duster like they did during their last factory effort in the 2010s. The car will also be powered using synthetic fuels.

The 2024 season begins on 5 January with the Dakar Rally. As Al-Attiyah and Loeb pilot Hunters, Gutiérrez is competing in the Challenger class in a Taurus T3 Max.