Five-time Dakar winner Al-Attiyah is looking to defend his crown driving for Prodrive following a move from Toyota.
Speaking ahead of this year’s edition, which begins on Friday, Al-Attiyah was asked if he thought Audi would be his main threat.
Audi is set to benefit from an FIA balance of performance shift in the T1.U class for prototype cars using renewable energies – which includes the Audi RS Q e-tron E2 – that will see entries granted an additional 15kW, worth 21 horsepower.
It prompted a blunt reply: “Audi? I give them just three days and they will go home, you saw it in Morocco and Aragon after a hundred kilometres.”
Three-time Dakar winner Sainz has now issued a retort to Al-Attiyah’s claims, stating “he [Nasser] is free to think”.
Photo by: Audi
Audi RS Q e-tron
Speaking to media in Saudi Arabia ahead of the event, including Motorsport.com, the Spaniard says that he has nothing but victory on his mind.
“I dream of having a good race and having a good rally,” said Sainz. “That’s a little bit the feeling now, trying to visualise now in a positive way what can happen every day, with the Prologue.
“You make your strategy, and then, depending on how you go out [after the Prologue], you visualise how you would like the race to go.
“I’d like to see it [Audi] up there, fighting from the first moment with the front, and that’s easy to understand at this stage when the race hasn’t even started, you’re preparing all year to look for that scenario, where you fight until the end to win it.”
Although a number of rivals are set to challenge Audi, the two-time WRC champion insisted that his marque was “brave” to continue competing in the desert after battling issues last year.
“It was a tough year, more than we would have liked to get there, with races with problems, but I also see the positive side,” he added.
“I think that what happened in the Baja Aragon and Morocco will not happen to us now. You have to be very brave to bring this car and make it race, and that’s why a stage win or fighting for victory in the Dakar with it is so special.”