Baja Aragon victory for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser and Mathieu
• 1st place overall at Baja Aragon for Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel
• 2nd place overall at Baja Aragon for TGR Brazil’s Lucas Moraes and Kaique Bentivoglio
• Six Toyota Hilux in Top 10
• Nasser/Mathieu cements position as World Cup leaders
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel recorded another victory in the Baja Aragon this weekend – the sixth time that Nasser has won this event, and his fifth win with Mathieu beside him. The pair brought their Dakar-winning GR DKR Hilux T1+ to the finish near the Spanish town of Teruel in a winning time of 6hr 18min 37sec, sealing victory and cementing their position at the head of the standings in the FIA’s 2023 World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.
The pair started their assault on Baja Aragon on Friday, settings the third-fastest time in the short prologue, which was used to determine the starting positions for the race. This year’s race featured a particularly strong field, including competitors from Audi, Ford M-Sport and MINI, so a good starting position was critical to the team’s success during the event.
Baja Aragon 2023 was run over a compressed schedule, due to the Spanish national elections taking place over the same weekend. As such, the race started with the traditional prologue, and was followed by the first of two racing stages early on Saturday morning. A second stage followed later on Saturday, offering a stern challenge in the dust and heat of eastern Spain’s Aragon region.
Nasser and Mathieu quickly found themselves under pressure from within the Toyota family. This time it was Brazil’s Lucas and Kaique who kept the Qatari and his French co-driver honest, by setting the fastest time over the opening stage. By the time the dust had settled over the opening day of the race, they found themselves 21sec ahead of Nasser, and nearly 3min clear of the crew in third place.
But Nasser and Mathieu’s experience stood them in good stead, as they set about the task of regaining the time they lost to Lucas and Kaique during the opening stage of the race. They managed to not only make up the small deficit, but also to build a lead of 2min 04sec over the Brazilian pairing, who set the third-fastest time on the stage. When the totals were tallied, the TGR crew won Baja Aragon 2023 by 1min 43sec over their young fellow-Toyota Hilux drivers. Third place was a distant 8min 8sec behind Lucas and Kaique, clearly underlining the prowess of the Toyota Hilux T1+.
While TGR’s focus remains firmly on the FIA’s World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) and the Dakar Rally, a third win from three Baja starts, together with one second-place finish, sees Nasser and Mathieu firmly in control at the top of the FIA’s World Cup for Cross-Country Baja standings.
Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal: “Another great result for the team, as well as our Dakar-winning GR DKR Hilux T1+. Congratulations to Nasser and Mathieu on their win, but also to Lucas and Kaique, with their stunning P2 finish. They finished less then 2min behind the TGR crew, after more than six hours of racing – a fantastic achievement. My sincere thanks to our engineers and mechanics from Toyota Overdrive, who did a magnificent job to get the car race-ready after its arrival from the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Without their hard work and the strength of our Hilux, victory would not have been possible.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “This was a good win for us. I think we drove a smart race, and it paid off. I’m very happy with the result, as we are now also leading the World Cup by quite a margin, and we will continue to push for victories on every race we enter.”
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Two of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing W2RC's key sponsors, Red Bull and Eurol, have committed to share in the team's W2RC journey for 2023, supporting Nasser and Mathieu's efforts through TGR. Eurol is the Dutch developer and producer of lubricants, additives, cleaners, technical fluids and specialty products, available in over 90 countries worldwide. Innovation, quality and sustainability are core values of the Eurol brand. Eurol provides TOYOTA GAZOO Racing with the Eurol Specialty Racing line with SYNGIS Technology, for extreme high-performance levels under all circumstances.
Red Bull has established itself as the premiere supporter of extreme sports and athletes, and as such fits perfectly with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's Dakar and W2RC efforts. The Austrian energy drink manufacturer has partnered with Nasser, Mathieu and TGR over numerous years, and the involvement bore fruit when Nasser and Mathieu won a second Dakar title for TGR in January 2022.
The team is also supported by Jonsson Workwear and USN.