Toyota team takes its second Dakar win in a Hilux after two gruelling weeks
Saudi Arabia, Jeddah – Toyota Gazoo racers, Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel have clinched their second Dakar win by riding a paced, strategic race, winning only stage 4 directly but always maintaining and building their lead through the entire rally.
After winning stage 4, the team controlled their pace through the remainder of the event to bring the car home safely in first place, with a winning margin of 27min 46sec.
Winning the prologue before the race allowed Al-Attiyah/Baumel to choose their starting position for the first stage, and they selected the 10th position on the road. This gave them the optimal position from which to attack: A three-minute dust gap to the car ahead of them; but plenty of tracks to follow, making navigation easier. This paid off handsomely as many of the top crews faltered in the opening stage. The TGR crew managed to pick their way through the tricky terrain without any problems, securing the opening stage win by 12min 44sec over the BRX Hunter of Sebastien Loeb.
The battle with Loeb raged on throughout the race, even though mechanical difficulties for the BRX driver saw the Toyota crew’s lead increase to over 30min – a buffer they never relinquished by driving at a calculated, strategic pace throughout the remainder of the rally.
This year’s race officially started in Ha’il, though the prologue took place mid-way between the city of Jeddah and Ha’il. The terrain for the first week of the rally was monotonous and predictable, without significant landscapes to cross – dunes, sandy tracks and rocky trials were at the order of each day. This changed, however, as the rally reached its second week, after the Rest Day on 08 January Riyadh. From there, the terrain became steadily more mountainous, with rocky outcroppings and tricky canyons to traverse. The final stage was set between the cities of Bisha and Jeddah, bringing the Dakar caravan back to the its starting point – 4,261 competitive kilometres and 12 stages later.
Al-Attiyah/Baumel’s victory came with the new GR DKR Hilux T1+, an evolution of the team’s former specification Hilux, featuring bigger wheels and tyres; more suspension travel; and an all-new engine. The new power plant was sourced from the Toyota Land Cruiser 300 GR Sport, and the 3.5 litre twin-turbo charged V6 proved extremely reliable from the start.
This engine’s standard power and torque outputs fall within the prescribed maximums as mandated by the FIA, and as such the team was able to utilise the engine in its production form, with the engine management control integrated with the car’s electrics. The team also developed the intercooler system for the engine in-house, using parts from the Toyota family, in order to meet the demands of the Dakar Rally. This meant that, while the engine was pushed to its limits, it remained reliable throughout the race.
The same car secured a 5th place in the overall standings for South Africa’s Dakar stalwart, Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy. Taking part in his 19th Dakar Rally, the Stellenbosch local set highly competitive stage times throughout the rally, except for Stage 7, when a broken oil pipe cost the crew one hour and required the help of teammates Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings, who assisted with mid-stage repairs.
There can be no doubt that Dakar 2022 was a successful campaign for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. Adding a second overall victory brought the team unbridled joy, but it also gave Team Principal Glyn Hall the opportunity to highlight the performances of all the team members.
Final Results Top Five:
1. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Baumel (AND) Toyota Gazoo 38hr 33min 3sec;
2. Loeb (FRA) / Lurquin (BEL) Bahrain Raid Xtreme +27min 46sec;
3. Al Rajhi (SAU) / Orr (GBR) Overdrive Toyota +1hr 1min 13sec;
4. Terranova (ARG) / Carreras (ESP) Bahrain Raid Xtreme +1hr 27min 23sec;
5. De Villiers (ZAF) / Murphy (ZAF) Toyota Gazoo Racing +1hr 41min 48sec.