The final race of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) is the iconic Rally of Morocco, taking place next week (12-18 October),where Toyota Gazoo Racing will be ready to defend their championship title. Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, will be campaigning their Dakar-winning GR DKR Hilux T1+, which has proven to be the car to beat during the past two W2RC seasons.
As it stands, Toyota Gazoo Racing have already gained an unassailable lead in this year’s title chase, and have been crowned the championship manufacturer for the year. The same is true for Mathieu Baumel, who wrapped up his second consecutive W2RC title following the crew’s victory at the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina in September.
The only title that is still outstanding for the team is the drivers’ championship, where Nasser currently holds a lead of 51 points over Yazeed Al Rahji in second place. Third place currently belongs to Juan Cruz Yacopini, with both Al Rahji and Yacopini driving privately entered versions of the Toyota Hilux T1+.
The Rally of Morocco traditionally serves not only as the final round of the W2RC, but also as an opportunity for the competition’s major players to test their Dakar cars in real-world conditions, against other crews. As such, the rally is an important part of the season, and TGR will be aiming to not only win the driver’s title, but also keeping a close watch on the competing teams.
This year’s event covers a total of five competitive stages. The route starts in the coastal city of Agadir, before traveling inland to Zagora and Merzouga, where the race will conclude. The race distance will total 1,378 miles, of which 900 will be special stage racing.
Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal: “We are excited to arrive at the final event in this year’s W2RC having already sealed two of the three available championship titles. Now, we are aiming for Nasser to win his second consecutive title, which would give us a clean sweep in the championship for the second year in a row.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “The Rally of Morocco is one of my favourite races. I have won the it six times, four with Toyota. If we manage to win, I will have a second W2RC title to enjoy. But the race is long and usually quite tough, and we must respect the desert. With that said, the GR DKR Hilux T1+ is powerful and tough, so we definitely have the right tool for the job.”
Mathieu Baumel: “In a sense, the pressure for me is somewhat less this time out, as I’ve already won the co-driver’s title for the year. Even so, we always aim for victory, and this event will be no exception. The navigation in Morocco can be very tricky, especially in the dunes of Merzouga. But we are ready and looking forward to the race.”