The 2021 edition of Andalusia Rally, one of the tests where the drivers and cars that will later compete in the Dakar get ready, it ended with controversy.
The victory was for the Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah at the wheel of the Toyota Hilux, on the veteran Carlos Sainz, which premiered at the wheel of Mini John Cooper Works Rally 4×4 very different from the one he took in the last raid in Arabia. Difficulties in adapting did not weigh on the Madrilenian, who challenged the prince to victory, but ended up giving up … but illegally.
In the last stage, Al-Attiyah cheated. Literal: he took a shortcut to save himself a few meters and be able to resist the lead of the general before the push of a Sainz who won the last day and stayed at that meager difference. The demonstration that the Toyota driver played dirty was shown by the Spanish racer himself, who shared a video with the scene.
In it, you can see how Al-Attiyah goes off the road, crosses a grassy area and rejoinspassing dangerously close to some fans) on the run, leaving a long way to go.
The two-minute penalty was not enough to lose the advantage he had over Sainz and, for only 32 seconds, Al-Attiyah won the Andalusia rally.
Sainz has not only shown the video, but has written a text in which he denounces what happened:
“A shame to see these images from the last stage yesterday. A driver of Nasser’s class does not need to cut corners to fight for a victory. Last year we already experienced a similar episode with him and this year the organization (ASO) was extremely forceful in the indications to the pilots, highlighting that not respecting the ‘road book’ and the route defined by the roads would imply a major penalty. Unfortunately, the stewards (FIA) left this incident at a mere two-minute penalty, inconsistent with everything discussed in the meetings with the organization and insufficient to really penalize the offender “, laments Sainz.
Al-Attiyah’s reaction has been … laugh at Sainz. “Hahaha don’t be disappointed,” he replied to the video.
Hahahaha don’t be disappointed
– Nasser S Al Attiyah (@AlAttiyahN) May 17, 2021
Sainz recalls that “the Andalusian rally covers farmlands, private plots and protected areas” so skipping the route, “is not only unsportsmanlike, but also puts future editions of this wonderful rally and, worse still, puts the public and other competitors at risk. “ “This type of action is not a good example for our sport. Hopefully it will not happen again,” he says in this regard.