Al-Attiyah and Baumel hold steady lead in the Dakar Rally

11 January 2023
  • Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel remain in the overall lead after Stage 9
  • Significant time lost by Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings
  • Clean stage for Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy

Stage 9 of the 2023 Dakar Rally brought solid results for Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel and Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy on Tuesday. By the time the dust had settled, Al-Attiyah and Baumel had retained their lead and de Villiers and Murphy had completed a clean run. But for the third TGR crew, Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings, time lost in the stage saw them drop two places in the overall standings.

Lategan and Cummings were second in the rally after eight stages, but they hit trouble early in Stage 9, between Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and Haradh in the south. The pair began the route as fourth car on the road, but just 11 miles into the stage they suffered a hard landing their GR DKT Hilux T1+ after crossing a dune. The car was still carrying a heavy fuel load, which may have contributed to the left rear damper breaking. This would normally have required the crew to wait for support from the chasing truck, but instead help came in the form of privateer Hilux competitors Yazeed Al Rajhi and Dirk von Zitzewitz who stripped a damper out of their own vehicle so the factory team could continue. The process cost Lategan and Cummings almost 50 minutes but they were able to get back up to full race pace, completing the stage in 63rd place.

This dropped them down to fourth place in the general ranking. They are now 1hr 46min 23sec behind Al-Attiyah and Baumel, but only 3min behind the competitor ahead in third place. 

For de Villiers and Murphy, Stage 9 brought a clean run at last. The pair had been plagued by punctures early in multiple stages, forcing them to race in ‘survival mode’ and costing significant time. The sandy terrain on Stage 9 worked in their favour, and they went seventh fastest, finishing 8min 55sec behind the stage winners. This means they retain their fifth place in the overall standings, with five tough stages in the Empty Quarter to come. 

Race leaders Al-Attiyah and Baumel drove another steady stage, finding a good rhythm and measured pace, despite the many water crossings. The TGR crew were meant to start the stage as the second car on the road, but the competitor ahead of them missed their start time, forcing the Hilux pair to open the route. They did a perfect job and were just 3sec slower over the 223-mile stage than de Villiers and Murphy, maintaining a comfortable 1hr 21min 57sec lead in the overall ranking. 

With Lategan and Cummings moving down the order to fourth place, Brazil’s Lucas Moraes, driving a privately entered Toyota Hilux T1+ with co-driver Timo Gottschalk, has moved up into second place in the overall standings. The Dakar rookie driver and his experienced navigator are having a dream rally so far, and will be hoping for similar results as the action shifts into the sands of Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter. 

Wednesday’s Stage 10 is the first of a series of short, sharp stages that mark the second week of the race. This one starts in the town of Haradh, with a long liaison of 290 miles. This will be followed by a stage of 71 miles, and a final liaison of 26 miles, bringing the crews to the bivouac at Shaybah, where the support teams will remain encamped for three days while the competitors complete the Empty Quarter Marathon Stages. The race will conclude in the city of Dammam on 17 January. 

Team quotes 
Glyn Hall, TGR Dakar Team Principal: “It was a very disappointing day for Henk and Brett, but we are very grateful to Yazeed and Dirk, who stopped to give the TGR crew a damper from their own car – truly amazing sportsmanship. Nasser and Mathieu had a good day, maintaining their lead at the head of the field, while Giniel and Dennis finally completed a stage without a single puncture. Overall, we’re still in a strong position, despite Henk and Brett losing so much time.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “I’m quite happy to finish this stage, as it was not an easy one. We didn’t push at all today, aiming instead just to bring the car home without any problem. We had a lot of water crossings to deal with, which wasn’t straightforward, but here we are at the finish, and I’m quite happy.”

Giniel de Villiers: “Overall, it was a reasonably good stage for us, as we didn’t have to get out of the car. We struggled a little bit to find the one waypoint, but nothing major, so we’re happy with the day.”

Henk Lategan: “It was a bad stage for us today. Not far from the start, we went over a steep dune with a step-down. At the bottom of the dune, one of our dampers broke, and we knew we were in big trouble. We might have lost hours, were it not for Yazeed Al Rajhi and Dirk von Zitzewitz, who stopped with us. We still lost a lot of time, but Yazeed and Dirk were truly amazing, and we are very grateful to both of them. At least we are still in the race, still in the top five, and ready to fight on.”

For results, times and standings, please visit; for further media assets, please visit


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Al-Attiyah and Baumel hold steady lead in the Dakar Rally


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