Fifth Stage Victory for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing at Dakar 2021
- Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel opened the taps to win their fourth stage at Dakar 2021. They initially traded places with their rivals but pulled ahead to reduce the lead gap to under five minutes after a gruelling Marathon Stage between Stages 7 and 8, which covered 828 competitive kilometres over varied terrain including sandy tracks and rocky traverses. Nasser is now looking to close the gap and challenge for a fourth overall Dakar victory, and a second Dakar title with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.
- Four more punctures for Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro negated any chance of a competitive stage time. They finished Stage 8 in 19th, and is now ninth in the overall standings. The pair has now suffered 18 punctures over the course of the rally with four stages to go.
- Stage 8 brought another clean run for Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy, who came through the timed section puncture-free in their first Top 10 finish of the race. They finished seventh on the stage and have moved up into 28th in the overall standings after a series of solid stage results. They’ll be looking for more of the same on Stage 9, which features a very technical special stage covering a distance of 465 kilometres, starting and ending in Neom.
Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “Stage 8 was another good one for us with Nasser and Mathieu winning the stage and taking some time off Stéphane Peterhansel’s lead. They are still very much in the hunt with four stages to go. Shameer and Dennis had a blinder today and we’re very pleased to see them post the 7th-fastest time. Giniel and Alex not only had four punctures, but lost more time at the end with a navigation issue. Their pace was good though and I’m very happy to have all three cars back safely after the Marathon Stage.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah (No. 301): “I’m happy to have finished yesterday and today without any problems, other than two punctures – one yesterday and one today. But the game is not fair, if you compare our car to the buggies. We are the only four-wheel-drive to stay close to the lead, but we still have five days to go to the end of the race, so we’ll continue to try our best.”
Giniel de Villiers (No. 304): “It’s really disappointing. We had four punctures again today and I had to drive the last 10 kilometres on the rim to get to the finish. It’s just really difficult for us with the tyres at the moment, we don’t seem to have a tyre that is strong enough. Four punctures yesterday and four more today. We’ve had 18 punctures since the start of the rally and we have four stages to go so I don’t know where it’s going to end. But it’s really difficult to fight for a good position when it goes like this. The stage was really beautiful in the end with beautiful canyons. We just lost some more time looking for the waypoint near the finish, but with the tyre problems that doesn’t really make a difference.”
Shameer Variawa (No. 330): “We had a clean run today without any punctures. We had a bit of a worry after one of the fittings on the gearbox oil pump broke and we weren’t sure if it would hold. But the Hilux is tough, and we made it to the finish. I’m not sure if the gearbox was damaged as a result, but we’re happy to have posted a competitive stage time. We stopped for a few minutes with Yazeed Al Rajhi as he had run out of spare tyres, so we helped him out with one of ours. And then, right at the end of the stage, we lost a few minutes in one of the canyons hunting for a waypoint. I honestly don’t even know where we are in the overall rankings right now. I’m just driving the car and trying to keep it clean. A lot of the guys have had many punctures, and a lot of guys have retired from the race. So, we just need to keep our heads straight for the rest of the race.”
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 8 Results:
1st No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, 2hr 56min 56sec
7th No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +18min 51sec
19th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +30min 17sec
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage 8:
2nd No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +4min 50sec
9th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +3hr 26min 50sec
28th No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +7hr 21min 50sec
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