Toyota Gazoo Racing in prime position after week one of the Dakar Rally

9 January 2023
  • Second on Stage 8 for leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel 
  • Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings fourth 
  • All three TGR crews in the top five after week one of the rally 

Toyota Gazoo Racing completed the opening week of the 2023 Dakar Rally in a strong position on Sunday, with all three GR DKR Hilux T1+ cars in the top five overall. Stage 8 of the event, which brought the crews to Riyadh for the rest day, saw defending champions Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel record the second-fastest time, trailing the stage winners by 2min 11sec. This leaves them with a 1hr 3min 46sec advantage at the head of the field, with six stages remaining. 

The second fastest TGR crew on the day was Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings, who trailed the stage winners home by 4min 53sec, over the 215-mile stage, which featured very rocky terrain. The pair recorded a clean run, with the GR Hilux running faultlessly. They remain in second place in the overall standings.  

Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy had a solid day on Stage 7, going fourth-fastest. But Stage 8 bit back, with two early punctures. The South African Rally-Raid champions were forced into survival mode, driving 150 miles with no spare tyres, as cars in the T1+ class are only allowed to carry two replacements. The crew relinquished 29min 44sec to the stage winners, dropping down to fifth place in the overall standings as a result.  

The privately entered Hilux T1+ of Brazilian Lucas Moraes and his German co-driver, Timo Gottschalk, is still in third place in the overall rankings, making it a one-two-three for Toyota at the rest day.  

Stage 8 was the second part of a ‘mini marathon’ section, with the crews sleeping in a makeshift bivouac near Al Duwadimi after Stage 7. The return stage to Riyadh was a stern test, with many competitors reporting problems over the extremely rocky terrain. 

Today (Monday) offers a day of rest and recuperation for the drivers and co-drivers, while the technical crews strip and rebuild the race cars in preparation for the final assault on the 2023 Dakar Rally. The event will feature six more stages, before concluding in the city of Dammam on 15 January.  

Team quotes  
Glyn Hall, TGR Dakar Team Principal: “If anyone had told me before the race that we’d have all three our cars in the top five at the rest day, I’d have been a very happy man. Now this is our reality and I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. On the other hand, there are still six stages to go, including the Marathon, so we can’t relax at all. The Dakar is never over, and we have a lot of respect for the stages ahead.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “Today was a good one for us, and I’m really happy at this point in the race. I think we’ve done a good job so far, despite some big fights with our competitors earlier in the race. To reach the rest day with more than an hour lead was one of our targets, and I’m happy to have achieved this. Now we need to focus on the coming week, as the terrain is completely different.” 

Giniel de Villiers: “The luck just doesn’t seem to be on our side this year, and we just can’t string two good days together at the moment. Today, we had to do 240km without any spare tyres, despite taking it easy early in the stage. But then Henk caught up with us after just 60km, and I figured I might’ve been taking it too easy. Just 20km further, we had our first puncture. Another 30km, and we had our second puncture. From there it was back to survival mode to the finish.” 

Henk Lategan: “Today, we didn’t really push. We found a good rhythm early on in the rocky sections, which was great as we know how easy it is to get a puncture. We took it really easy in the rocky stuff, and then picked up the pace a bit in the dunes. I think it was a tough day for most competitors, so I’m glad that we managed to keep it clean in the stage today. I do think we have a little more pace left in the dunes, but Brett has been taking a beating, and we’ll save that for when we need it.” 

For results, times and standings, please visit; for further media assets, please visit


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Toyota Gazoo Racing in prime position after week one of the Dakar Rally


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DAKAR - Stage 8
DAKAR - Stage 8
DAKAR - Stage 8
DAKAR - Stage 8
DAKAR - Stage 8
DAKAR - Stage 8
DAKAR - Stage 8
DAKAR - Stage 8
DAKAR - Stage 8
DAKAR - Stage 8

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