Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) completed the inaugural FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) with success in every category. Its honours roll at the end of the season included the drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturers’ title.
The results were sealed when Nasser Al-Attiyah and his navigator Mathieu Baumel brought their GR DKR Hilux T1+ home in second place on the Andalucia Rally, the final round of the competition. The result ensured a clean-sweep of titles and a fitting conclusion to a year that began with victory in the Dakar Rally, one of the world’s toughest races.
In a testament to its toughness, the racing Hilux only suffered one mechanical issue throughout the gruelling season, and that was the result of an extremely hard and unlucky landing. Other than that, the team’s progress was only hampered by punctures.
The inaugural W2RC featured four tough rounds, on three different continents. The total timed distance for all rounds combined came to nearly 5,000 miles, thoroughly testing both man and machine across terrain that ranged from rocky tracks, mud and sand to endless dunes. Throughout the competition, TGR have continued to push the limits for better, constantly finding ways to refine performance of the GR DKR Hilux T1+.
Matt Harrison, Toyota Motor Europe President, commented: “Toyota has a proud history in motorsport, having raced in many different disciplines over the last six decades. The challenges of W2RC have given us insights into the toughest conditions imaginable, allowing us to build ever-better cars for the people who prefer to take the road less travelled. Winning the inaugural championship demonstrated that we are on the right track. We are proud that our GR DKR Hilux T1+ for the task at hand.
“I’d like to extend my gratitude to Nasser and Mathieu, and to every member of the TGR W2RC team, and my heartfelt thanks for the personal contributions made in Pushing the Limits for Better throughout the development of the GR DKR Hilux at every test and rally. Despite facing many challenges and setbacks, your dedication ensured the TGR ultimately became the first World Rally-Raid Champion.”
The inaugural W2RC season comprised the following rounds:
Round 1 – Dakar Rally: 1-14 January, 2022
Al-Attiyah and Baumel got their campaign off to an excellent start, winning three stages and recording five further podium finishes. This gained them 35 stage points, plus 50 points for their overall victory in the world’s toughest automotive event.
Round 2 – Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: 5-10 March, 2022
Next up was the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, where the crew suffered a hard landing that damaged their Hilux’s suspension and forced to them retire from the opening stage. A resulting 20-hour penalty meant that victory was out of reach, but the crew fought back, winning each of the remaining stages to secure 20 stage points and 6 points for their 11th place finish.
Round 3 – Rally of Morocco: 1-6 October, 2022
Multiple punctures that put paid to the crew’s hopes for victory in Morocco. As in Abu Dhabi, Al-Attiyah and Baumel continued to push despite the setbacks, resulting in 13 stage points and 20 points for their third position overall. By this point of the season, the TGR crew had overtaken their nearest rivals, who had been holding a slender lead in the championship standings.
Round 4 – Andalucia Rally: 18-23 October, 2022
On the final round of the season, the weather became a key factor. Despite the conditions, Al-Attiyah and Baumel brought their Hilux home in first place on the final stage, sealing second place in the overall standings and securing enough points to claim the inaugural W2RC title.
The team are now turning their attention to the 2023 Dakar Rally in January, with a final shakedown test scheduled for December in Namibia. The engineers are applying all the learnings for this season’s stages, together with data captured from the Hilux’s participation in the South African Rally-Raid Championship.
Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “Looking back over the inaugural W2RC season, there are many highlights for the team. But for me, it was the fighting spirit of Nasser and Mathieu, who continued to push for maximum points, even when victory was out of their reach, that really stood out. This serves to underscore our can-do attitude, as well as the toughness of our Dakar-winning GR DKR Hilux T1+. I’m really proud of our achievements this year, and I’m looking forward to Dakar 2023.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “For me, winning the first ever W2RC is a special achievement. After years of competing in the FIA’s World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, it is fantastic to finally have our own championship. And to be able to be crowned as the winner of the first edition is something that I will cherish for ever.”
Mathieu Baumel: “We’ve certainly faced some challenges this year, but in the end, we prevailed to take the title. I’m extremely proud of what we did, starting with our victory at the Dakar Rally in January. Now, months later, we’ve come full circle – the title is in the bag, and we’re already preparing for the next Dakar.”
W2RC 2022 FINAL STANDINGS
- N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA GAZOO RACING GR DKR Hilux 169
- S. LOEB (F) BAHRAIN RAID XTREME Hunter 149
- Y. AL RAJHI (SAU) OVERDRIVE RACING Hilux 121
- J. PRZYGONSKI (PL) X-RAID MINI JCW TEAM MINI 77
- F. LOPEZ CONTARDO (CHL)SOUTH RACING CAN-AM CAN-AM 71
- M. Baumel (F) TOYOTA GAZOO RACING GR DKR Hilux 169
- F. Lurquin (B) BAHRAIN RAID XTREME Hunter 149
- D. Von Zitzewitz (D) OVERDRIVE RACING Hilux 70
- T. GOTTSCHALK (D) X-RAID MINI JCW TEAM MINI 58
- A. HARO BRAVO (E) BAHRAID RAID XTREME HUNTER 53
- TOYOTA GAZOO RACING GR DKR Hilux T1+ 163
- BAHRAIN RAID XTREME Hunter 135
- OT3 BY G RALLY TEAM OT3 102
- X-RAID MINI JCW TEAM MINI 92
- PH-SPORT PEUGEOT 58