Al-Attiyah and Baumel steady at the top after Dakar Rally Stage 12

16 January 2023
  • Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel increase their lead on Stage 12 
  • De Villiers and Murphy consolidated fourth position overall 
  • Significant time loss for Lategan and Cummings after rolling their Hilux 

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel continued their run of solid results to extend their lead in the 2023 Dakar Rally on Friday’s Stage 12. There was disappointment for their teammates Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings, who rolled their GR DKR Hilux T1+ early in the stage, causing some damage and losing them nearly 30 minutes. This allowed Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy to move into fourth place in the overall standings with two stages to go. 

Stage 12 brought the competitors back from the Empty Quarter bivouac to the encampment at Shaybah, where the technical crews were waiting to service and repair the team’s three race cars after the rally’s two-day Marathon section. Although the stage was only 155 miles, it proved a stern test.  

For Al-Attiyah and Baumel, overall race leaders and defending champions, completing the stage was another box ticked in their progress towards the rally’s finish in the city of Dammam. The pair took the lead during Stage 2 and have not relinquished it since. With two stages remaining, they remain respectful of the shifting desert dunes that mark the event’s final days.  

The same dunes caught out their teammates Lategan and Cummings on Stage 12; a low-speed roll in soft sand damaged the right rear suspension and brakes, costing them a place in the overall standings. They were classified 73rd on the stage, dropping 48min 35sec to the stage winners after losing more time due to the rear brakes not working after the incident. This leaves them in fifth overall, 12min behind de Villers and Murphy.  

While the pair were bitterly disappointed to lose time so close to the end of the rally, both commented on the toughness of the GR DKR Hilux T1+, which not only protected them during the accident, but also completed the stage despite the damage sustained.  

Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy in the No205 car completed Stage 12 without mishap. The pair went ninth-fastest, trailing the leaders to the finish by 11min 34sec. With teammates Lategan and Cummings losing time, they moved up to fourth in the overall rankings, 2hr 22min 21sec behind Al-Attiyah and Baumel.  

In terms of the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC), Al-Attiyah and Baumel are aiming to defend the title they won in 2022. However, they are not currently in a position to push for stage wins at the Dakar Rally, so have been relinquishing points to their nearest competitors. Even so, they are just 9 points behind the leaders after 12 stages of the Dakar Rally, and will be hoping to reap maximum points if they maintain their current position to the finish.  

The penultimate stage of Dakar 2023 takes place today (Saturday), running between the bivouac near Shaybah and the border town of Al-Hofuf to the north. At just 96 miles, Stage 13 may sound short, but the competitors expect another tough test before a slightly easier day leading to the finish in Dammam on Sunday.  

Team quotes  
Glyn Hall, TGR Dakar Team Principal: “Another solid day for Nasser and Mathieu, who have shown the maturity and restraint of true champions. They brought the car home after the Marathon Stage with barely a mark on it, and very little for the service crews to do. Giniel and Dennis also did what was required, and they’re cemented in fourth place now with two stages to go. Unfortunately, Henk and Brett had a rollover early in the stage, and lost a position in the overall ranking as a result. They are bitterly disappointed, but we still have all three our cars in the top five, so we’re very happy at this point.”  

Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal: “While we are here at the rally to defend our Dakar title from 2022, we are also keeping a close eye on the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship points. We won the first ever W2RC last year, after quite a close battle. While a potential win at this Dakar is very important to us, it will also amass championship points, as this is the first round of the 2023 W2RC. At this point, we cannot expect Nasser and Mathieu to push for stage wins, but leaving from Saudi with another Dakar win, as well as many W2RC points as possible is a major part of our mission for the year ahead. Two more stages remain before the final points can be tallied.”  

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “With the Marathon Stage yesterday and today, the main priority was to make sure the car gets back to Shaybah safely. I’m quite happy as it stands, and we remain in control of the race. All we have to focus on now is to bring the car to the finish, as we still have a comfortable lead. Our Hilux is truly amazing, and we have a lot of pace left in the tank. If we need to push, we can push, but as long as we don’t need to take any risks, we certainly won’t.”  

Giniel de Villiers: “We’re happy to be back after two tough stages. They weren’t very long, but there were many tricky sandy sections and dunes that could catch you out easily. It was important to get through these two days without problems, and we managed to do that. Now, we have two more days to go, and I fully expect at least one of them to be quite tough as well.”  

Henk Lategan: “We were caught out by a sandy peak, and the car jumped onto its nose and sideways. Then there was a lot of damage to repair, but at least we managed to fix the car and get it through the stage. There were no rear brakes, and it was a bit of a struggle to get it through.”  

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Al-Attiyah and Baumel steady at the top after Dakar Rally Stage 12


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DAKAR 2023 - Stage 12
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 12
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 12
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 12
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 12
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 12
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 12
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 12
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 12
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 12

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