- First overall for Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel
- Fourth overall for Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy
- Fifth overall for Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings
- Four Toyota Hilux T1+ in the top five
Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, have successfully defended the Dakar title they won for Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) in 2022, bringing their GR DKR Hilux T1+ over the finish line of the final stage of Dakar 2023 yesterday (15 January). The pair lost 5min 41sec to the winners of the rally’s final stage, but sealed the overall victory with a winning margin of 1hr 20min 49sec.
Al Attiyah said: “It was a tough two weeks, but to be able to come back and defend our title is fantastic. I’m really proud of our GR DKR Hilux T1+, and to win the race three times with Toyota Gazoo Racing is truly something special.”
The 14th stage of Dakar 2023 was a an 85-mile test that started from the bivouac at Al-Hofuf. Competitors had to complete a short liaison of 104 miles before to the stage, which was followed by a final liaison of 62 miles to the finish podium in Dammam.
This is Al-Attiyah’s fifth win in the Dakar Rally, while Baumel’s tally is now four victories. The pair have won three times for Toyota, with the latest coming in a back-to-back display of quality, durability and reliability for the Japanese manufacturer. The pair took over the lead of the event on Stage 2 and never relinquished that position.
Giniel de Villiers, who completed his 20th consecutive Dakar Rally when he crossed the finish line, ended the rally in fourth place. This result brings his number of top five finishes to 15, including one victory in 2009. The South African has only finished outside the top 10 on one occasion, and his performance in the 2023 edition underscores the toughness and tenacity of one of the event’s true veterans. Together with co-driver Dennis Murphy, he finished this year’s 45th Dakar 2hr 31min 12sec behind the winners.
Dakar 2023 will long be remembered by Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings as a race that could have turned out very differently for them. They moved as high as second place before two setbacks pushed them down the order. The pair showed great pace throughout the rally and will be hoping for a truer reflection of their speed in future editions. Even so, they finished in fifth place overall, less than 5min behind their teammates in fourth.
Toyota dominated the Dakar 2023 results with the works TGR crews finishing first, fourth and fifth. A privately entered Toyota Hilux T1+ in the hands of young Brazilian Lucas Moraes added to the Japanese manufacturer’s tally by finishing in third place. This was Moraes’s first attempt at the Dakar Rally, though he had an experienced co-driver in the form of Timo Gottschalk beside him.
In terms of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship, of which the Dakar Rally was the opening round, Al-Attiyah and Baumel amassed a total of 85 points. This means they trail the leaders by just two points with four further rounds to contest during the year. Toyota is in also in second place in the manufacturers’ championship, a single point behind the leaders. The next race is the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which takes place during the last week of February.
Glyn Hall, TGR Dakar Team Principal: “Winning Dakar is something memorable, but winning the world’s toughest race twice in a row is simply extraordinary. My sincere thanks to every member of our team, every one of our sponsors and, of course, our drivers and co-drivers, who delivered a stunning result. I’m really proud of our GR DKR Hilux T1+, which has proved yet again that it is reliable and durable enough to not only complete the world’s roughest automotive race, but to do so two years in a row.”
Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal: “ To Nasser and Mathieu; Giniel and Dennis; and Henk and Brett, my sincere thanks for your relentless efforts from the opening stage. Your dedication to defending our title ensured that the Dakar trophy has come to Toyota Gazoo Racing once again. Today’s victory was a massive step in our W2RC journey. The points for overall victory cannot be underestimated, especially given the fierceness of this championship. As with the Dakar itself, we’re looking to defend our title in the W2RC, and while we leave Saudi Arabia trailing our nearest competitors by a small margin, we are confident that we will be able to put up a good fight during the remainder of the year.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “This in amazing feeling! I have to thank so many people, starting with every member of our team. It was a tough two weeks, but to be able to come back and defend our title is fantastic. I’m really proud of our GR DKR Hilux T1+, and to win the race three times with Toyota Gazoo Racing is truly something special.”
Giniel de Villiers: “The Dakar is always full of challenges, and we certainly had our share of
this year. Of course, it could’ve been better for us, but then many competitors can probably say the same. It would have been nice to be on the podium, but overall, as a manufacturer, Toyota has every reason to be proud. I think this result has just proved the reliability of the Hilux once again, and we managed to showcase this amazing car in Saudi Arabia this year.”
Henk Lategan: “Dakar 2023 has been a rollercoaster for us. It has been a tough two weeks, with some extremely good days; but also some disappointing ones. It does feel good to be in the top five after such a tough Dakar, I think they’ve thrown everything at us this year. With that in mind, it feels fantastic to be at the end of the race, and while we’ll always wonder what might have been, we are very happy to bring the car home in a good position.”
For results, times and standings, please visit newsroom.toyota.eu; for further media assets, please visit www.TGR-DAM.com.