Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Al-Attiyah and Baumel take second Dakar stage win

6 January 2023
  • Al-Attiyah and Baumel win Stage 5 and extend overall lead  
  • Lategan and Cummings sixth on stage, de Villiers and Murphy eighth 

Defending champions Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel extended their lead in the 2023 Dakar Rally with their second stage win yesterday, taking Stage 5 honours in what was another tough day in the 45th edition of the event. They completed the 232-mile test in the GR DKR Hilux T1+ in 4hr 13min 23 sec, 1min 57sec ahead of the second-placed crew. The result has strengthened their position at the top of the overall standings: they are now 22min 36sec clear of their nearest rivals. 

The results so far also open the pair’s defence of their FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) titles. The Dakar Rally is the first round of the 2023 championship and has seen Al-Attiyah and Baumel collect 12 points so far, just three points fewer than the leading crew in the standings. 

Stage 5 was a tough one for TGR’s other two Hilux crews. Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings posted the sixth-fastest time, 12min 33sec adrift of their winning teammates. The pair described the terrain on the stage as “punishing” on both the car and the body, and they found the going tough for most of the day. They lost time when a tyre bead slipped off the rim after a hard landing into a rut early in the stage, and almost suffered a similar fate later in the day. Luckily the tyre re-seated itself on the second hard landing, and the crew managed to complete the stage without a second tyre change. They remain in fifth place overall, 57min 58sec behind the lead.  

Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy also had a challenging day. The harshness of the terrain played havoc with them physically, but they still posted the eighth-fastest time on the day, 19min 44sec behind the winners. They have retained their seventh position in the general classification, with a 1hr 7min 57sec deficit to the leaders.  

Stage 6 of this year’s Dakar Rally was meant to see the bivouac shift today from the city of Ha’il to Al Duwadimi, but flooding in the Al Duwadimi area has forced the organisers to reroute the Dakar caravan to the Saudi capital of Riyadh instead. Stage 6 will be shortened by 62 miles, which means the competitors will have to complete a post-stage liaison of 186 miles. 

The organisers will determine the stages to follow based on the conditions at the time, but the rest day of the 2023 Dakar is scheduled for next Monday, 9 January, in a bivouac near Riyadh. The event will draw to a close on 15 January, in the eastern city of Dammam. 

Team quotes  
Glyn Hall, TGR Dakar Team Principal:   

“Today we saw the implementation of the FIA’s Equivalence of Technology (EOT), which is a system designed to balance the performance between cars that feature vastly different power technologies in the T1 category. The calculations are quite complex, but in essence all the top teams had agreed to this approach prior to the start of the race. And while we were somewhat surprised by the outcome, it is in line with the rules and our prior agreement. It will be implemented throughout the year at the FIA’s W2RC events. The EOT will be reassessed during the Rest Day. In the end, all that we can do is focus on our own race and our own results, and I am extremely pleased with Nasser and Mathieu’s win today.” 

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “It was a good stage for us today. Not easy at all, and really hard on the body, but despite this we managed to push, and I’m very happy to have won the stage. There’s still a long way to go, but at this point we’re happy to be in the lead. We’ll keep trying to increase our lead, of course, but for now we are content to be at the head of the field.” 

Giniel de Villiers: “It was a very physical stage today, very tough on the body, especially the neck. There were endless fields of camel grass and very tricky dunes. We were caught out a couple of times and had to slow down, before getting back on the attack.” 

Henk Lategan: “We had a good start to the stage, which was run on some sandy tracks. But then we had a problem with one of our tyres, before entering the dunes. I struggled a bit in the dunes, especially compared to some of the crews who have been doing this for many years. We took a couple of really hard knocks today, but overall, I’m relieved that we got through a very tough stage.” 

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Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Al-Attiyah and Baumel take second Dakar stage win


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DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5
DAKAR 2023 - Stage 5

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