Consecutive W2RC titles for TGR as Rally of Morocco draws to a close
• TOYOTA GAZOO Racing secures all three W2RC titles
• Second consecutive season of victory for TGR
• GR DKR Hilux T1+ shows its strength
The 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) drew to a close with the Rally of Morocco, which served as the 5th and final round of the season.
The relatively short final stage of 152 km saw TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's (TGR) Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, push their GR DKR Hilux T1+ to the limit. Unfortunately, they suffered a crash approximately ten kilometres into the stage. The crew managed to make running repairs, but elected to return to the bivouac with the damaged car, rather than attempting to complete the remainder of the stage. This ended their 2023 W2RC season, but the team had already secured a trio of titles for the year: Driver's championship; Co-Drivers' Championship; and Manufacturer's Championship.
The 2023 Rally of Morocco featured five timed stages, starting in the coastal city of Agadir, and ending in the eastern city of Merzouga. The total distance for the event came to 2,240 km, including the liaisons linking the stages and bivouacs. The event forms a key part of the W2RC season, as it serves not only as the final round of the year, but also offers a valuable opportunity for teams to test their latest specification cars in real-world conditions that resemble those found on the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.
For TGR, the event was an opportunity to further test and validate the updates to its GR DKR Hilux T1+, and also for Nasser to secure the driver's title for the second time - as both the co-driver's title and the manufacturer's title had already been won with one round to spare.
As for the Rally of Morocco, the event was won by Yazeed Al Rajhi and his co-driver, Timo Gottschalk, in a privately entered Toyota Hilux T1+. The pair drove a steady and clean race, to record their first victory at the Rally of Morocco, sealing second place in the W2RC in the process.
The 2023 W2RC season started with the Dakar Rally, which served as Round 1 of the world championship. Due to its length and extreme nature, the Dakar Rally offers more points than any of the subsequent rounds, and Nasser and Mathieu's victory there set them up with a solid foundation for the rest of the season.
Unfortunately, they were unable to complete Round 2 - the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge - following a crash on the 3rd stage of that event.
For Round 3, the TGR crew demonstrated its never-give-up spirit by fighting for victory at the Sonora Rally in Mexico. They secured two stage wins and two second-place stage finishes, giving them a total of 51 points towards the championship.
Next was Round 4, the the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina. The TGR crew again showed remarkable tenacity, ultimately winning four of the event's five stages and securing another 53 championship points in the process.
Now, despite missing out on a final victory at the Rally of Morocco, the team has reaped the rewards of a hard-fought season.
With the 2024 Dakar Rally only months away, the focus will now shift to the final preparations for this marathon event, as well as the 2024 W2RC season.
Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal: “2023 has been a fantastic year for the TGR W2RC team. We started by winning the Dakar Rally and, after great determination and excellent teamwork, managed to secure all three W2RC titles. Furthermore, this is the second consecutive year of W2RC success for us – an achievement we’re all very happy to celebrate. I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all the engineers, mechanics, agencies and sponsors involved in our 2023 campaign. Without their collective efforts, as well as those of the drivers and co-drivers, we would have been able to achieve all our goals. Finally, I would also like to thank the wider Toyota family in the service park, including the privateers who campaign in our cars. Their sportsmanship and camaraderie throughout the season have been without equal, and it is a pleasure to continually push the limits for better together. The GR DKR Hilux T1+ has proven its strength and durability once again, and we look forward to embarking on a further journey with this magnificent car in 2024 and beyond."
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “To me, winning a second W2RC title is an amazing feeling. It all started when we won the Dakar Rally back in January, but standing here now as a double W2RC champion, I cannot be happier. I would like to thank TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and the entire team who helped to build and maintain our GR DKR Hilux T1+ for their hard work and strong support."
Mathieu Baumel: “Wow! What a feeling. Yes, I won the co-driver's title at the previous round already, but now we have all three W2RC titles for the second time in a row. The Rally of Morocco was not an easy one, but we managed to do what was needed to bring all the titles home, and I am very proud of what we have achieved."
Rally of Morocco Stage 5 Results:
1. O. Terranova (ARG) / B. Graue (ARG), BAHRAIN RAID XTREME, 1:57:41
2. Y. Al Rajhi (SAU) / T. Gottschalk (DEU), OVERDRIVE RACING, +0:05
3. M. Guthrie (USA) / K. Walch (USA), RED BULL OFFROAD, +0:56
4. S. Loeb (FRA) / F. Lurquin (BEL), BAHRAIN RAID XTREME, +3:30
5. G. De Mevius (BEL) / F. Cazalet (FRA), OVERDRIVE RACING, +4:00
73. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA), TOYOTA GAZOO RACING, +13:02:18
Rally of Morocco Final Standings:
1. Y. Al Rajhi (SAU) / T. Gottschalk (DEU), OVERDRIVE RACING, 14:49:09
2. D. Krotov (KGZ) / K. Zhiltsov (KGZ), OVERDRIVE RACING, +34:17
3. N. Roma (ESP) / A. Bravo (ESP), M-SPORT FORD, +43:03
4. J. Yacopini (ARG) / D. Carreras (ESP), OVERDRIVE RACING, +57:08
5. E. Amos (ITA) / P. Ceci (ITA), OVERDRIVE RACING, +1:00:13
45. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA), TOYOTA GAZOO RACING, +14:10:01
W2RC FINAL STANDINGS - DRIVER:
1. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) , TOYOTA GAZOO RACING, 205
2. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU), OVERDRIVE RACING, 181
3. J. YACOPINI (ARG), OVERDRIVE RACING, 132
4. S. LOEB (FRA), BAHRAIN RAID XTREME, 112
5. S. HALPERN (ARG), X-RAID MINI, 89
W2RC FINAL STANDINGS - CO-DRIVER:
1. M. BAUMEL (FRA), TOYOTA GAZOO RACING, 205
2. T. GOTTSCHALK (DEU), OVERDRIVE RACING, 162
3. D. OLIVERAS (ESP), OVERDRIVE RACING, 132
4. F. LURQUIN (BEL), BAHRAIN RAID XTREME, 112
5. B. GRAUE (ARG), X-RAID MINI, 98
W2RC FINAL STANDINGS - MANUFACTURER: *
1. TOYOTA GAZOO RACING, 285
2. X-RAID MINI JCW TEAM, 144
3. BAHRAIN RAID XTREME, 125
4. BAIC ORV, 100
* yet to be ratified by the FIA
|ROUND||EVENT||POINTS SCORED||STAGES WON||FINAL POSITION|
|2||Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge||-||-||DNF|
|4||Desafio Ruta 40||53||4||1st|
|5||Rally of Morocco||16||2||TBC|
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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.