- Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel remain in the overall lead after Stage 10
- Clean stage for Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings/Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy
- Start of Marathon Stage today
The 2023 Dakar Rally moved to the Saudi Arabia’s daunting Empty Quarter yesterday (11 January) with a short Stage 10 covering just 71 miles. All the crews reported that the stage was unexpectedly difficult, with the winners taking 1hr 48min 32sec to complete the course. Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel recorded the fourth-fastest time of the day in their GR DKR Hilux T1+, finishing 5min 45sec behind the winners. Experiencing no problems, they comfortably maintained their position at the head of the field.
The pressure was off as they knew that teammates de Villiers and Dennis Murphy close behind them on the stage, carrying some spare parts in case the overall leaders shold need help. This role required the South African pair to allow Al-Attiyah and Baumel to pass them early in the stage, as they started ahead on the road. Despite holding back during the opening part of the stage, they still went 22nd-fastest, losing just 12min 24sec to the winners on the day. They remain in fifth place overall and have extended their buffer to the crew behind them in the standings.
For Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings, Stage 10 brought an opportunity to strike back after the difficulties they experienced on Stage 9. However, the stage proved tougher than expected, with many tricky sections. They had a clean run, recording the ninth-fastest time, 7min 59sec behind the winners. They are holding steady in fourth overall, 1hr 48min 37sec behind the lead.
Lucas Moraes and Timo Gottschalk, driving a privately entered version of the Toyota Hilux T1+, are still in second place overall, 15min 49sec ahead of the crew in third. They were third-fastest on Stage 10, relinquishing 5min 22sec to the chasing pack.
Four stages remain in the 2023 Dakar Rally, with today’s Stage 11 representing the ‘out-leg’ of the Marathon Stage. The 171-mile test will see the competitors race away from the main bivouac near Shaybah to a remote encampment where they will have no service crew to support them – any work or repairs have to be done by the driver and co-driver themselves, with the only assistance from fellow competitors. Stage 12 will see the field return to the main bivouac for a normal service at the end of the day.
The penultimate stage of the rally stretches from Shaybah to Al-Hofuf, along the Saudi border with the United Arab Emirates, before the final stage takes the rally from Al-Hofuf to the coastal city of Dammam on 15 January.
Glyn Hall, TGR Dakar Team Principal: “Today, our crews did exactly what was required of them. Nasser and Mathieu kept out of trouble, maintaining their position at the top. At the same time, Henk and Brett recorded a good stage result, so they’ll have a better road position tomorrow. Finally, Giniel and Dennis played a perfect supporting role to Nasser and Mathieu, but even so, their stage result was very good.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “Yes, it was a short stage, but it was a tough one! It took us a long time to complete, but I’m happy to be into the proper dunes now. I also think today was a good test for the next two days, and we know exactly what we need to do for the Marathon Stage. But the most important step today was to finish the stage without any problems, which is exactly what we did.”
Giniel de Villiers: “Never let a short stage fool you. This was only a 114km stage, but 114km in this terrain isn’t easy at all, and it required full concentration throughout. In the beginning we took it easy in order to let Nasser past, and after that we really just followed him through to the end of the stage. There was some dust in the middle of the stage, but nothing major. Today’s stage gave us a good indication of what to expect over the next few days.”
Henk Lategan: “Not an easy stage at all, full of dunes. Very tricky, and the tracks of the guys ahead didn’t really help, as the track was already churned up badly. Even so, I’m glad we managed to get through the first proper dune stage.”
For results, times and standings, please visit newsroom.toyota.eu; for further media assets, please visit www.TGR-DAM.com.