TOYOTA GAZOO Racing completed the opening week of the 2023 Dakar Rally in a strong position, with all three GR DKR Hilux T1+ cars in the Top 5. Stage 8 of the event, which brought the crews to Riyadh for the Rest Day, saw defending champions Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel record the second-fastest time, trailing the stage winners by just 2min 11sec. This leaves the TGR crew with a 1hr 3min 46sec advantage at the head of the field, with six stages remaining in the race.
The second fastest TGR crew on the day was Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings, who trailed the stage winners home by just 4min 53sec, over the 346km-long stage, which featured very rocky terrain. The pair recorded a clean run on the stage, with the GR Hilux running faultlessly. They remain in second place in the overall standings, placing two of the three TGR crews in first and second place after eight stages.
Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy had a solid day on Stage 7, going fourth-fastest. But Stage 8 bit back, with two punctures early in the stage. The South African Rally-Raid champions were forced into survival mode, driving 240km with no spare tyres, as cars in the T1+ class are only allowed to carry two spares. The crew relinquished 29min 44sec to the stage winners, dropping down to fifth place in the overall standings as a result.
The privately entered Hilux T1+ of Brazilian Lucas Moraes and his German co-driver, Timo Gottschalk, is still in third place in the overall rankings, making it a one-two-three for Toyota at the Rest Day – a remarkable achievement.
Stage 8 was the second part of a ‘mini marathon’ section, with the crews sleeping in a makeshift bivouac near Al Duwadimi after Stage 7. The return stage to Riyadh was a stern test, with many competitors reporting problems over the extremely rocky terrain.
The Rest Day is up next, and offers a day of rest and recuperation for the drivers and co-drivers, while the technical crews strip and rebuild the race cars in preparation for the final assault on the 2023 Dakar Rally. The event will feature six more stages, before concluding in the city of Dammam on 15 January, 2023.
“The first week of Dakar 2023 is finally done and dusted, and what a week it’s been for our team. If anyone had told me before the race that we’d have all three our cars in the Top 5 at the Rest Day, I’d have been a very happy man. Now this is our reality, and I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. On the other hand, there are still six stages to go, including the Marathon, so we can’t relax at all. The Dakar is never over, and we have a lot of respect for the stages ahead.”Glyn Hall, TGR Dakar Team Principal
“Today was a good one for us, and I must say I’m really happy at this point in the race. I think we’ve done a good job so far, despite some big fights with our competitors earlier in the race. But to reach the Rest Day with more than an hour lead was one of our targets, and I’m happy to have achieved this. Now we need to focus on the coming week, as the terrain is completely different.”Nasser Al-Attiyah
“The luck just doesn’t seem to be on our side this year, and we just can’t string two good days together at the moment. Today, we had to do 240km without any spare tyres, despite taking it easy early in the stage. But then Henk caught up with us after just 60km, and I figured I might’ve been taking it too easy. Just 20km further, we had our first puncture. Another 30km, and we had our second puncture. From there it was back to survival mode to the finish.”Giniel de Villiers
“Today, we didn’t really push. We found a good rhythm early on in the rocky sections, which was great as we know how easy it is to get a puncture. We took it really easy in the rocky stuff, and then picked up the pace a bit in the dunes. I think it was a tough day for most competitors, so I’m glad that we managed to keep it clean in the stage today. I do think we have a little more pace left in the dunes, but Brett has been taking a beating, and we’ll save that for when we need it.”Henk Lategan
|1||201||(FRA) SEBASTIEN LOEB(BEL) FABIAN LURQUIN||BAHRAIN RAID XTREME||03H 34′ 24”|
|2||200||(QAT) NASSER AL-ATTIYAH(FRA) MATHIEU BAUMEL||TOYOTA GAZOO RACINGGR DKR HILUX T1+||03H 36′ 35”||+ 00H 02′ 11”|
|3||207||(ESP) CARLOS SAINZ(ESP) LUCAS CRUZ||TEAM AUDI SPORT||03H 37′ 55”||+ 00H 03′ 31”|
|4||217||(ZAF) HENK LATEGAN(ZAF) BRETT CUMMINGS||TOYOTA GAZOO RACINGGR DKR HILUX T1+||03H 39′ 17”||+ 00H 04′ 53”|
|5||203||(POL) JAKUB PRZYGONSKI(ESP) ARMAND MONLEON||X-RAID MINI JCW TEAM||03H 44′ 43”||+ 00H 10′ 19”|
|6||206||(FRA) GUERLAIN CHICHERIT(FRA) ALEX WINOCQ||GCK MOTORSPORT||03H 44′ 45”||+ 00H 10′ 21”|
|7||230||(BRA) LUCAS MORAES(DEU) TIMO GOTTSCHALK||OVERDRIVE RACING||03H 45′ 33”||+ 00H 11′ 09”|
|8||231||(FRA) ROMAIN DUMAS(FRA) MAX DELFINO||REBELLION RACING||03H 51′ 16”||+ 00H 16′ 52”|
|9||202||(SAU) YAZEED AL RAJHI(DEU) DIRK VON ZITZEWITZ||OVERDRIVE RACING||03H 51′ 29”||+ 00H 17′ 05”|
|10||213||(LTU) VAIDOTAS ZALA(PRT) PAULO FIUZA||TELTONIKA RACING.||03H 52′ 39”||+ 00H 18′ 15”|
|21||205||(ZAF) GINIEL DE VILLIERS(ZAF) DENNIS MURPHY||TOYOTA GAZOO RACINGGR DKR HILUX T1+||04H 04′ 08”||+ 00H 29′ 44”|
|1||200||(QAT) NASSER AL-ATTIYAH(FRA) MATHIEU BAUMEL||TOYOTA GAZOO RACINGGR DKR HILUX T1+||31H 02′ 58”|
|2||217||(ZAF) HENK LATEGAN(ZAF) BRETT CUMMINGS||TOYOTA GAZOO RACINGGR DKR HILUX T1+||32H 06′ 44”||+ 01H 03′ 46”|
|3||230||(BRA) LUCAS MORAES(DEU) TIMO GOTTSCHALK||OVERDRIVE RACING||32H 23′ 20”||+ 01H 20′ 22”|
|4||201||(FRA) SEBASTIEN LOEB(BEL) FABIAN LURQUIN||BAHRAIN RAID XTREME||32H 55′ 04”||+ 01H 52′ 06”|
|5||205||(ZAF) GINIEL DE VILLIERS(ZAF) DENNIS MURPHY||TOYOTA GAZOO RACINGGR DKR HILUX T1+||33H 07′ 18”||+ 02H 04′ 20”|
|6||231||(FRA) ROMAIN DUMAS(FRA) MAX DELFINO||REBELLION RACING||33H 30′ 09”||+ 02H 27′ 11”|
|7||210||(CZE) MARTIN PROKOP(CZE) VIKTOR CHYTKA||ORLEN BENZINA TEAM||33H 39′ 58”||+ 02H 37′ 00”|
|8||216||(ZAF) BRIAN BARAGWANATH(ZAF) LEONARD CREMER||CENTURY RACING FACTORY TEAM||33H 45′ 04”||+ 02H 42′ 06”|
|9||224||(CHN) WEI HAN(CHN) MA LI||HANWEI MOTORSPORT TEAM||34H 18′ 01”||+ 03H 15′ 03”|
|10||220||(ARG) JUAN CRUZ YACOPINI(ESP) DANIEL OLIVERAS CARRERAS||OVERDRIVE RACING||34H 43′ 20”||+ 03H 40′ 22”|
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with its partners Red Bull, Kinto, Eurol and the Innovation Group. The team is also supported by Hallspeed, SKF, Spanjaard, Edgecam, Supreme Springs, Shatterprufe, Smith’s Manufacturing, Oakley, Lumotech, OMP, MSA, SACCS and the FIA. Thanks also to Ingco, Jonsson Workwear and USN for their support.
Posted by Toyota South Africa DAKAR on MotorPress
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