- Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel maintain a lead of more than an hour after Stage 11
- All TGR crews achieve clean runs through first leg of the Marathon Stage
- Three stages remain to be contested
All three Toyota Gazoo Racing crews reported clean runs in their GR DKR Hilux T1+ cars on the out leg of the Dakar Rally’s Marathon Stage (Stage 11) yesterday. The news brought relief to the team, as the crews camped at a remote bivouac in Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter where they have no technical support and have to carry out any vehicle repairs themselves.
Fastest of the TGR crews over the 171-mile stage were overall race leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel. The defending champions were fifth-fastest on the day, trailing the stage winners by 6min 42sec. Their lead over the second-placed crew is 1hr 21min 04sec, with three stages left to run.
Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings continued their good form, recording another faultless stage. They are in fourth place overall, having relinquished 7min 22sec to the stage winners. Their deficit to the leaders is 1hr 49min 17sec, but they are within 19min of a podium position, despite losing significant time with a broken damper earlier in the rally.
Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy were plagued by punctures earlier in the race, but now that the terrain has become sandier, they have been recording clean stages. They went sixth-fastest on Stage 11, 10min 04sec behind the winners. They remain in fifth overall, 2hr 14min 18sec behind Al-Attiyah and Baumel.
All three Toyota Gazoo Racing GR DKR Hilux T1+ race cars have now completed more than more than 4,000 miles in the course of the rally, with very few technical issues. Notably, the standard 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 engine from the new Toyota Land Cruiser 300 has proved completely reliable, despite the extreme terrain and conditions.
Today’s Stage 12, the return leg of the Marathon, is the first of the Dakar’s three closing stages of the race. Stage 13 will take the rally from Shaybah to Al-Hofuf. This will be followed by the final stage from Hofuf to the coastal city of Dammam on 15 January, bringing the 45th edition of the Dakar Rally to a close.
Glyn Hall, TGR Dakar Team Principal: “The great news today is that all three our cars got through the first part of the Marathon Stage without any drama. Nasser maintained his lead comfortably, while Henk and Giniel posted solid stage results to hold steady in their respective positions in the overall standings. Next up is the wait to see them back here in the bivouac at Shaybah, following Stage 12.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “Everything went to plan today for us. We don’t have to push at all, since we have enough time in hand, so the main goal today was to make sure the car is in perfect condition for tomorrow.”
Giniel de Villiers: “There were some tricky dune crossings in the stage, but overall things went okay for us. We just tried to have a clean run and not make any mistakes, and we’re happy to be here at the remote bivouac without any problems.”
Henk Lategan: “It was tricky in the dunes, and we decided to take it easy today. We’ve still been learning about the dunes, so the last few days have been difficult for us, and we expect more of the same for the next few days. We’re just taking it easy and gaining experience at this point.”
For results, times and standings, please visit newsroom.toyota.eu; for further media assets, please visit www.TGR-DAM.com.