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Hilux teams hold three of the top ten positions at the Dakar’s halfway mark

Hilux teams hold three of the top ten positions at the Dakar’s halfway mark

Passing the halfway mark last Friday, the first Dakar Rally ever to be staged in Saudi Arabia, has now completed seven of the twelve stages. Saturday was a rest day for all crews with stage 7 run on Sunday and stage 8 on Monday. The Dakar ends this Friday in Qiddiyah.

Sunday’s stage 7 was the longest of all 12 stages running from the capital, Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir. It was on this stage that the legendary cross-country biker, Paulo Gonçalves was killed in a crash.

The Toyota Gazoo racing crews in the South African-built Hiluxes have been making steady progress with three teams in the top ten following Sunday’s stage 7.

Overall in second place are driver Asser Al Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel. In 6th place are driver Giniel de Villiers and navigator Alex Haro Bravo and in 7th place, Bernhard ten Brinke and Tom Colsoul. Al Attiyah was last year’s winner, also in a Hilux.

Among the buggies, Zimbabwean Conrad Rautenbach and French navigator, Pedro Bianchi Prata are holding on to their 9th place.

The category for trucks are dominated by Russian makes and drivers with four of the top ten positions held by teams driving Kamaz trucks.

2020 celebrates the 42nd Dakar. From 2009 to 2019 the Dakar was staged in South America across several countries but in April last year, it was announced that this year’s race will move to Saudi Arabia.


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SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.