Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
Nasser Al-Attiyah made history in 2019 by winning all nine timed special stages.
The Qatari racing legend and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel were flawless in their relentless pursuit of rally raid perfection. Here is all you need to know:
July, 2019. When Al-Attiyah and Baumel lined up on the start line in their Toyota Hilux, 5,000km of brutal racing through Russia, Mongolia and China awaited them. Despite an aura of invincibility around them, the idea of winning all nine timed special stages and dominating a rally-raid race like no team has ever done before seemed implausible.
The rally took off from Irkutsk in Russia before passing Lake Baikal in Siberia and heading east through Siberian forests and the Gobi Desert sand dunes before finishing in the Chinese city of Dunhuang.
By the time the rally rolled around, Al-Attiyah had already elevated his status as a titan of the sport. He had won all six races he had entered so far in 2019, including a third Dakar Rally crown after a flawless performance in South America.
The fast start:
The duo stormed into an early lead after the first stage then extended their advantage on day two despite overcoming a puncture before hitting an average speed of 101kph for the near-700km stage three. As they entered Mongolia, they sat at the top of the tree by 20 minutes.
The unblemished record was almost lost on Stage 6 when, battling mental and physical tiredness, they missed a turning 3km into the route. Baumel quickly rectified the situation though and ensured little time was lost.
Silk Way Rally history was made on Stage 8, as the duo became the first team to win seven timed stages in a row. By now, Al-Attiyah was an unstoppable force and added two further stage victories to claim yet another career defining title win and ensure he had led for every kilometre of the race from start to finish.