Nasser and Mathieu back in W2RC action at 2023 Sonora Rally

21 April 2023

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Dakar-winning crew of Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, will be back in action at Round 3 of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) next week, when they start the Sonora Rally in Mexico. The pair will again be campaigning the GR DKR Hilux T1+, which saw them win a second consecutive Dakar Rally earlier this year.

Victory in the world’s toughest automotive rally set the current W2RC title holders up for another highly competitive season, though the competition was always going to be fierce. Round 2, however, brought disappointment for the crew, as a crash saw them lose all the points they had gained by winning the three opening stages of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Forced to withdraw, Nasser and Mathieu saw their 2023 W2RC campaign suffer a serious setback, which they will be aiming to address in the upcoming race.

After two rounds, the TGR crew find themselves 16 points adrift of the lead, but still in second place on the points table. With this in mind, they will be targeting valuable points finishes on each stage of the 5-stage Sonora Rally, which could prove pivotal in the outcome of this year’s title fight. At the same time, TGR leads the Manufacturers’ championship, 41 points clear of the second-placed manufacturer.

Next week’s Sonora Rally is set in the Sonora province of Mexico, the second-largest province in the country. It borders the United States to the south of Arizona, and the race features five stages starting with a Prologue on 23 April, 2023. The opening stage of the race will start and finish near the town of Hermosillo, before the rally moves to the western part of the state, following the coastline towards the finish at San Luis Rio Colorado on 28 April.

While the Sonora Rally has taken place since 2015, this is the first time that the event features as part of the international circuit, and as such the terrain is largely unknown to the bulk of the competitors. Past editions of the Sonora Rally have featured massive dunes, but the organisers have stressed that this year’s event will also include rocky mountains, beaches, open deserts and many wash-aways.

Team quotes:

Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal: “We are very excited to be taking on the third round of the 2023 W2RC, especially after the disappointment of the previous round. Our GR DKR Hilux T1+ is back to perfect condition, and we look forward to the challenging terrain offered by the Mexican countryside. With that said, our objective is clear: To bank maximum points in defence of our W2RC title.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “I was bitterly disappointed to crash out of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – an event that we know quite well. Even so, the next round is another opportunity to score points, and we’ll be looking to closing the gap to Sebastien Loeb this week. The car is as good as new, and both Mathieu and I are feeling fit and focussed.”

Mathieu Baumel: “It is always exciting to take part in a new event, but at the same time, we aren’t quite sure of what to expect in terms of navigation and terrain. At least it is the same for all of the top crews, and while the unknowns will certainly add some pressure, we are looking forward to a good week of racing in Mexico.”


  1. S. LOEB (FRA)                        BAHRAIN RAID XTREME                      101
  2. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT)           TOYOTA GAZOO RACING                       85
  3. M. PROKOP (CZE)                 ORLEN BENZINA TEAM                   64
  4. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU)                 OVERDRIVE RACING                                63
  5. J. YACOPINI (ARG)                OVERDRIVE RACING                                49


  1. TOYOTA GAZOO RACING               120
  2. BAHRAIN RAID XTREME                  79
  3. BAIC ORV                                           72
  4. X-RAID MINI JCW TEAM                   70


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Nasser and Mathieu back in W2RC action at 2023 Sonora Rally


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