DAKAR RALLY DELIVERS SECOND PLACE FOR NASSER AL-ATTIYAH AND A PROUD FINISH FOR FERNANDO ALONSO ON DEBUT WITH TOYOTA GAZOO RACING
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel claimed second place on the 2020 Dakar Rally in the Toyota Hilux, maintaining the strong form that saw them win the event in 2019.
Last Friday’s final day also saw former Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso complete his debut on the gruelling rally in a highly creditable 13th place overall, partnered by Marc Coma.
Held for the first time in Saudi Arabia, the 2020 Dakar Rally comprised 12 racing stages that included dune crossings, rocky tracks and high speed desert crossings. It lived up to its reputation as one of the world’s toughest sporting events with all four Toyota Gazoo Racing crews having to deal with setbacks, including 43 punctures between them. The Toyota Hilux proved equal to the challenge and all four crews made it to the finish with no technical problems. Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro were placed fifth and Bernhard ten Brinke and Tom Colsoul completed the rally in seventh.
After more than 5,000km of racing, Al-Attiyah was little more than six minutes away from wresting victory from Carlos Sainz, who posted his third Dakar win. Speaking after Friday’s final stage, Al-Attiyah said: “It’s a great feeling and we are quite happy. We won the stage today and partially closed the gap to the leaders, but we knew it was a big ask after making a mistake two days ago. But this is a rally, and that’s how it goes. I’m proud that we finished second. It really wasn’t easy, considering the competition and the terrain, but I’m sure we’ll be back to fight for the victory again next year.”
Alonso and Coma battled to regain more than two hours lost on the rally’s second stage, pushing themselves and their Toyota Hilux to the limits to climb back up to 10th place overall before a roll on stage 10 put a top-10 finish out of reach.
“This is the toughest rally in the world, and we finished it on our first attempt,” said Alonso. “I had the best team around me; the Toyota Gazoo Racing guys, Marc in the car, and I think thanks to them we finished the race on the first try. I’m really grateful, and I really enjoyed the last two weeks.”
Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro pushed hard in the opening stages of the race, winning stage 2 outright before losing ground due to a multitude of punctures. Despite the time lost, the pair were never out of the top 10 and ultimately secured fifth place, 1hr 7min 9sec behind the winners.
The 42nd edition of the Dakar Rally also saw a strong performance by Bernhard ten Brinke and navigator Tom Colsoul. This was the pair’s second Dakar together and they equalled their previous result in seventh place overall. While the crew didn’t win any stages this time, they were also constantly in the top 10.
2020 Dakar Rally overall results for Toyota Gazoo Racing after stage 12 (final):
2nd No.300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +6min 21sec
5th No.304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +1hr 7min 9sec
7th No.307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +1hr 18min 34sec
13th No.310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +4hr 42min 47sec