TOKYO, Jan 17, 2023 – (JCN Newswire via SEAPRWire.com) – Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, successfully defended the Dakar title they won for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) in 2022, when they brought their GR DKR Hilux T1+ over the finish line of the final stage of Dakar 2023 on 15 January. The pair lost 5min 41sec to the stage winners, but that hardly mattered, as they sealed the overall victory with a winning margin of 1hr 20min 49sec.
The final stage of Dakar 2023 was a 136km-long test that started from the bivouac at Al-Hofuf. Competitors had to complete a short liaison of 167km before taking on Stage 14, which was then followed by a final liaison of 100km to the finish podium in the coastal city of Dammam.
For Nasser, this was his fifth win in the Dakar Rally, while Mathieu’s tally is now four victories. The pair have won three times for Toyota, with the latest victories coming in a back-to-back display of quality, durability and reliability for the Japanese manufacturer. The pair took over the lead of the event on Stage 3, and never relinquished that position.
Giniel de Villiers, who completed his twentieth consecutive Dakar Rally when he crossed the finish line near Dammam, ended the rally in 4th place in the overall standings. This result brings his total number of Top 5 finishes to 15, including one victory in 2009. The South African has only finished outside the Top 10 on one occasion, and his performance in the 2023 Dakar Rally underscores the toughness and tenacity of one of the Dakar Rally’s true veteran racers. Together with co-driver Dennis Murphy, Giniel finished this year’s 45th edition of the rally 2hr 31min 12sec in arrears.
Dakar 2023 will long be remembered by Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings as a race that could have turned out very differently for them. They moved as high as 2nd place in the overall standings, before two setbacks pushed them down the order. The pair showed great pace throughout the rally, and will be hoping for a truer reflection of their speed in future editions. Even so, they finished in 5th place overall, less than 5min behind their teammates in fourth.
Toyota dominated the Dakar 2023 results, with the works TGR crews finishing 1st, 4th and 5th. A privately entered Toyota Hilux T1+ in the hands of the young Brazilian, Lucas Moraes, added to the Japanese manufacturer’s tally, by finishing in third place overall. This was Lucas’ first attempt at the Dakar Rally, though he had an experienced co-driver in the form of Timo Gottschalk beside him in the car.
In terms of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship, of which the Dakar Rally was the opening round, Nasser and Mathieu amassed a total of 85 points. This means they trail the log leaders by just two points after Round 1 of the five-round championship. Toyota is in 2nd place in the Manufacturers’ championship, just a single point behind the leaders. The next race is the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which takes place during the last week of February.
For more information, visit https://toyotagazooracing.com/dakar/release/2023/0116-01/.
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