All Four TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Crews Survive Dakar Marathon Stage
All four TOYOTA GAZOO Racing crews made it safely back to the bivouac at Haradh after Stage 11, where the team’s technical crews were on stand by to service and prepare the Toyota Hilux for the final stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally. The 744-kilometre penultimate stage took crews from the Marathon Bivouac at Shubaytah which included a special stage of 379 kilometres starting with 80 kilometres of dune crossings.
Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel pushed throughout the second leg of the Marathon Stage in an attempt to make up the 17min 46sec they lost due to navigational challenges on Stage 10. The pair powered the Hilux to second place on the stage to come home just 10 seconds off the lead, and reducing their overall lead gap to 8min 3sec. Nasser and Mathieu were hoping to use the final stage of the event to push for victory in their Dakar Rally title defence, but the final special stage has been shortened by the organisers from 374 kilometres to just 167 kilometres, leaving the crew with a near-impossible target.
It was another solid performance by Giniel de Villiers and navigator Alex Haro on the return leg of the Marathon Stage, crossing the finish line 12min 14sec behind the leaders. The pair reported another clean run in terms of car performance and reliability, moving up to fifth place overall with a gap of 1hr 6min 34sec.
The penultimate stage also saw a sterling performance by Bernhard ten Brinke and navigator Tom Colsoul who finished the stage in fourth place, losing just 10min 14sec to the stage winners. The pair maintain their seventh position in the overall standings, trailing the next spot by just 4min 55sec.
Following repairs overnight by the crew of the damage to the Hilux endured on Stage 10, Fernando Alonso and navigator Marc Coma continued the penultimate stage of the pair’s first-ever Dakar Rally together from 113th place on the road. Showing true determination and sheer grit, the pair made a superb recovery on Stage 11 to bring their battle-worn Hilux back to the bivouac eighth fastest. Ultimately, the roll on Stage 10 cost them a potential overall Top 10 finish, but they look on track to hold on to 13th place overall.
The final stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally will take the crews from Haradh back towards the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh. The rally will conclude at the newly built entertainment city of Qiddiyah, 40 kilometres from Riyadh. Competitors will take on a shortened special stage of 167 kilometres with 262 kilometres of liaison, bringing the total route length to 429 kilometres. Once in Qiddiyah, competitors will complete an untimed race called the “Qiddiyah Trophy” before heading to the finishers’ podium.
Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “Well, this was the penultimate day of the race and, after the second part of yesterday’s stage was cancelled, today became really important to us. The good news was that the trucks were moved further down the order for the start, so even though Nasser started in 17th place, we had hoped he would be able to attack. He had a huge mountain to climb to catch up the 17-minute deficit in order to get to the front and he took significant time out of the leaders. But now we’ve just found out that tomorrow’s final stage has just been shortened to 160km and I must admit I’m feeling pretty sad at the moment, as I don’t believe we have enough stage distance left to make up the time.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah (No. 300): “Today’s stage really isn’t a big deal because I think we lost our chance for victory yesterday already. First, we made a mistake with the navigation and then a long section of stage was cancelled, so we didn’t have the opportunity to make up more time. We really tried to push today, but it wasn’t easy. So, now we have to protect second place. But there’s still one stage left and nobody can predict the outcome.”
Giniel de Villiers (No. 304): “It wasn’t easy, yesterday or today. There were lots of complicated dunes with a lot of big drops so the stage didn’t allow you to get comfortable at all. Sometimes you would brake for a crest, and you’re upset with yourself for braking too much; then other times, you’re really happy you braked, as there’s a 10 or 15 metre drop on the other side. It was a case of survival and the first part of the stage this morning was really tricky over the first 100 kilometres. Luckily, the sand was wet, otherwise it would probably have been a lot more difficult. The rest of the stage was fine; we had a good time and we are happy to be here.”
Bernhard ten Brinke (No. 307): “It was another good day and we pushed quite hard as we’re just a few minutes behind Giniel and Alex. In terms of the general ranking, we made progress today, going from seventh to sixth. We were the fourth car on the road for today’s stage and we’re happy considering the tough terrain we encountered in the stage.”
Fernando Alonso (No. 310): “I think the start of the first part of the Marathon Stage wasn’t ideal, with the roll in the first kilometre. After we repaired the car, I think we did a good job from there. The second part of the stage was cancelled by the race directors so we had more time for repairs. The second part of the marathon today was difficult because we started from 113th position. So, we started behind the trucks and everyone; and the dunes were very soft. But we managed to finish the marathon without too many dramas, and now there’s only one day left to finish my first Dakar Rally.”
2020 Dakar Rally Stage 11 Results:
2nd No. 300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +10sec
4th No. 307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +10min 14sec
6th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +12min 14sec
8th No. 310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +16min 25sec
2020 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage 11:
2nd No. 300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +10min 17sec
5th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +1hr 6min 34sec
7th No. 307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +1hr 17min 50sec
13th No. 310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +4hr 43min 18sec
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