Motoring Weekly

Toyota Gazoo wins Dakar rally

January 19 - January 25, 2022
Gulf Weekly Toyota Gazoo wins Dakar rally
Gulf Weekly Toyota Gazoo wins Dakar rally
Gulf Weekly Toyota Gazoo wins Dakar rally

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel won the Dakar Rally for the fourth time in the car category over the weekend, edging out Bahrain’s representatives who put on an impressive challenging show.

Al-Attiyah finished in Jeddah 27 minutes and 46 seconds ahead of France’s nine-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb who drives for Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX).

Loeb and Fabian Lurquin took their BRX Prodrive Hunter to the fourth best time on the 164km stage from Bisha to Jeddah to secure second place overall.

Nani Roma and Alex Haro also brought their Prodrive Hunter home to make BRX the first top Dakar team to complete the rally with a full complement of cars running on next generation advanced sustainable fuel.

It has been an impressive competitive debut for the new Hunter T1+, with all three BRX cars in Saudi Arabia powered by the Prodrive EcoPower fuel which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent compared to petrol.

“It was a good rally,” Loeb said at the finish. “We lost some time at the beginning with some technical problems. After that we really pushed hard to close the gap with Nasser, but he did a really good job so it was impossible. But we finished second in a great rally, so it’s not so bad.” 

Meanwhile, Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi was third with the Overdrive Toyota team, his first podium finish in the event.

Al Attiyah won the Dakar when it was held in South America in 2011, 2015 and 2019 with Volkswagen, Mini and Toyota respectively.

He is now the joint-second most successful car driver in the history of the event, tied with Finland’s four times winner Ari Vatanen and behind France’s eight times winner Stephane Peterhansel who also won six times on a motorcycle.

“We had finished second every time since we came to Saudi Arabia two years ago, now we’re really happy to achieve our goal,” said Al Attiyah.

“We opened up a gap on the first day and have since managed our lead. We’re really happy, and I reckon we’ll start thinking of the next Dakar in a week or 10 days.”

As for the bike category, British motorcycle GasGas rider Sam Sunderland took his second title. He took his first title in South America in 2017, finished three minutes and 27 seconds ahead of Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla on a Honda. Austrian Matthias Walkner was third for KTM.

Alexandre Giroud became the first Frenchman to win the quadbike category. The Dakar Rally began in 1978 as a race from Paris across the Sahara to the Senegalese capital but switched to South America in 2009 for security reasons.

One of motorsport’s most dangerous and gruelling events, the rally moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020 and is now in its 44th edition.

The Dakar Rally was the opening round of the new FIA World Rally-Raid Championship which continues in March with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge ahead of the other rounds in Kazakhstan, Spain and Morocco.



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