- A cautious approach to the critical Marathon Stage of Dakar 2021 saw 2019 winners Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel concede just two minutes on Stage 7. The stage was contested over a timed section of 453km between Ha’il with Sakaka, and Nasser now trails the leader by just under eight minutes in the overall standings.
- Four punctures caused Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro to lose 48min and 12sec as they had to wait for a spare tyre from a fellow Toyota Hilux crew. The pair will now have to race the 375-kilometre Stage 8 from Sakaka to Neom, expected to be made up of sandy and stony tracks, using old tyres and will also have to complete any maintenance or repairs to their Toyota Hilux themselves, as outside assistance from the technical crews is forbidden during the Marathon Stage.
- Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy continued their run of solid results, suffering a single puncture and posting the 15th-fastest time on the stage, only 38min 17sec behind stage winner Yazeed Al Rajhi, also in a Toyota Hilux. Shameer and Dennis have moved into 31st position as a result.
Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “The Marathon Stage is always a nervous time for us, especially as it followed straight after the Rest Day. So, we have to trust that we got everything absolutely spot on during yesterday’s service before sending the race crews off to complete a stage, stay over in a bivouac where the crews have to prepare their own cars for the next day, and then race another full stage to the next bivouac. Today’s stage was strewn with rocks, and we were grateful for the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that we adapted from the production Toyota GR Yaris for our race cars. The system has worked extremely well, and is invaluable on a terrain where slow punctures could go unnoticed by the crew. Overall, we are happy that Nasser and Mathieu managed to stay in touch with the lead, while Shameer and Dennis recorded yet another great result. Unfortunately, Giniel and Alex had four punctures, and lost a fair amount of time. Even so, they are still in the Top 10, which is good for us.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah (No. 301): “The start of the Marathon really wasn’t easy and we got a flat tyre early on. After that, we decided to take good care of the car for the rest of the stage. We arrived safely in the bivouac after losing only a small amount of time. This puts us in a good position for tomorrow’s run to Neom and we’re looking forward to Stage 8.”
Giniel de Villiers (No. 304): “It was a day of punctures for us despite keeping things clean on the stage. We had four of them, but only three spares, which put us on the back foot for the entire day. We had to wait for another crew to give us a spare, which allowed us to cover the final 100 kilometres to the bivouac. This also means that we have to start tomorrow’s stage on worn tyres, which is far from ideal.”
Shameer Variawa (No. 330): “The stage was good, even though it felt quite long. This morning the sand was very soft, especially in the first section of the stage, but we just kept going. We had a small navigational error near the end of the stage which let two trucks past us. This caused major dust issues, so we decided to drop back a little and preserve our car for tomorrow. Overall, we’re happy with our result today.”
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 7 Results:
4th No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +2min 48sec
15th No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +38min 17sec
22nd No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +48min 12sec
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage 7:
2nd No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +7min 53sec
8th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +2hr 59min 36sec
31st No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +7hr 6min 02sec