Köln, Germany,
11
January
2024
|
22:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Lucas leads the TGR pack, midway through 48 hour stage at Dakar 2024

Summary
  • 48-hour 'Chrono' Stage brings innovation to Dakar 2024
  • 4th overnight for Lucas Moraes and Armand Monleon
  • 8th overnight for Seth Quintero and Denis Zenz
  • 11th overnight for Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy
  • 16th overnight for Guy Botterill and Brett Cummings
  • 53rd overnight for Saood Variawa and Francois Cazalet

The innovative 48 hour 'Chrono' stage of the 2024 Dakar Rally started near the bivouac at Shubaytah on Thursday, January 11th, and has proven an extremely tough test for all the crews. The unique setup of Stage 6 saw the crews start at the bivouac near Shubaytah, from there they raced along a conventional stage until 4pm local time. At that moment, all the crews were stopped, and directed to one of seven bivouacs dotted along the stage. Crews had to clock in at the bivouac nearest their position, where they would overnight without the benefit of service to their cars, before resuming racing at 7am the next morning. They would then complete the remainder of the 549km-lomg stage, after which both the cars and the race crews would be ferried to the Saudi capital of Riyadh for the Rest Day, which takes place on Saturday, January 13th.

For TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, the stage was largely trouble free, with all five GR DKR Hilux EVO T1Us making it safely to various bivouacs. Fastest of the five works crews was Lucas Moraes and his co-driver, Armand Monleon, who was in 4th place according to the rankings at Bivouac D - one of the later bivouacs along the route.

Teammates Seth Quintero and his co-driver, Dennis Zenz, were 8th-fastest by the time the race was paused, bunking in the same bivouac as Lucas and Armand. The American driver is out of contention for the race, but keen on setting competitive stage times throughout the remainder of the rally.

Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy made it safely to the same bivouac, setting the 11th-fastest time at that point; while Guy Botterill and co-driver, Francois Cazalet, set the 17th-fastest time by the same point in the stage.

The team's final pairing consists of rookie driver Saood Variawa, who is paired with co-driver Francois Cazalet for the race. The young driver struggled to select reverse gear in his car, but the problem was quickly sorted. He made good progress after that, only to fall foul to the dreaded motion sickness - a problem that many crews face in the sea of dunes that mark Saudi Arabia's so-called Empty Quarter. Saood and Francois were the 36th car into Stage 6, and as such they were running further down the order than their teammates. They made it to Bivouac C by the end of play at 4pm, and will resume racing from that point in the morning.

While all the TGR crews made it safely to the various bivouacs, the privately entered Toyota Hilux EVO of Yazeed Al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk was severely damaged in a heavy crash early in the stage. The overall race leaders rolled their car end-over-end, and while the crew were uninjured in the crash, the car was unable to continue.

This is a bitter blow for the privateer, who had hopes of becoming the first Saudi Arabian to with the Dakar Rally - and to do so on home soil. The car will now be returned to Riyadh, where his team's technicians will assess it in order to determine if it can be safely repaired, and re-entered in the remained of the race, so that Yazeed and Timo can continue scoring points towards the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC).

In the meantime, the remaining crews will resume racing at 7am on Friday, January 12th, in order to complete the remaining distance of Stage 5. Once the stage is complete, the crews will have to drive a liaison of 110km, at which point the cars will be loaded onto trucks to be ferried to Riyadh, while the race crews board aircraft that will also bring them to the Saudi capital.

This marks the end of the first week of a very tough Dakar Rally. The Rest Day follows on Saturday, January 13th, after which six more stages will bring the event to the coastal city of Yanbu, where the winners will be crowned on Friday, January 19th.

 

QUOTES:

Shameer Variawa, SVR Team Principal: 

"A stage such as today's 48 hour Chrono is always a worry. The fact that we can't service the cars in their remote bivouacs, and that we can't speak to the crews, is very frustrating from a team management point of view. With that said, we do know that all five our cars have arrived safely after racing was paused, and from what we can tell they are all ready to go racing again in the morning."

Alain Dujardyn, W2RC Team Principal: 

"While we are very happy to have our crews safely in the various bivouacs, we are also bitterly disappointed that Yazeed crashed out of the stage, and also out of contention for victory. We were extremely proud to see him and Timo lead the Dakar Rally in a privately entered Toyota Hilux EVO, and had high hopes for a good result. With that said, we are relived that the crew are unharmed, and we wish them well for the remainder of the race, if they are able to continue."

Lucas Moraes: 

"Well, we finished the first part of the 48 hour stage. I believe it was a great day for us. We don't know our times, but we do know we passed a lot of cars! We had one problem finding one of the waypoints, and we lost maybe three minutes hunting for it. But we are here safely, with only 170km to do tomorrow, so we'll keep going!"

Seth Quintero: 

"I'm gonna say this as nicely as I can, and without me getting in trouble: You couldn't pay me a million dollars to go to that stage again. That was the roughest, longest, toughest... What other words could I use? Anyways, it wasn't fun. It was not too much fun, but we're here. It was nice to get most of the kilometres out of the way. I think we did 400 or so. We were in the car for seven hours. It's rough and it's not over. So, we got another 170 to do tomorrow. A couple more hours in the dunes, what's a few more, right?"

 

DAKAR 2024 - STAGE 6 STANDINGS AS AT BIVOUAC D

1.#204 C. Sainz / L. Cruz (Team Audi Sport) 05:22:00
2.#207M.Ekstrom / E. Berg (Team Audi Sport) +04:31
3.#203S. Loeb / F. Lurquin (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) +05:19
4.#206L. Moraes / A. Monleon (Toyota GAZOO Racing) +19:15
5.#302E. Gogzal / O. Mena(Energylandia Rally Team)+23:48
6.#200N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel (Nasser Racing) +24:09
7.#211G. Chicherit / A. Winocq (Overdrive Racing) +26:23
8.#216S.Quintero / D. Zenz (Toyota GAZOO Racing) +30:20
9.#208M. Prokop / V. Chytka (Orlen Jipcar Team) +31:24
10.#221G. de Mevius / X. Panseri (Overdrive Racing) +32:25
11.#209G. De Villiers / D. Murphy (Toyota GAZOO Racing) +33:36
16.#243G. Botterill / B. Cummings (Toyota GAZOO Racing) +42:12
N/A.#216S. Variawa / F. Cazalet (Toyota GAZOO Racing) Bivouac C

 

DAKAR 2024 - STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 5

1.#201 Y. Al Rajhi / T. Gottschalk (Overdrive Racing) 17h 24min 04sec
2.#200N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel (Nasser Racing) +09:03
3.#204C. Sainz / L. Cruz (Team Audi Sport) +11:31
4.#207M.Ekstrom / E. Berg            (Team Audi Sport) +22:58
5.#212M. Serradori / L. Minaudier                (Century Racing Factory Team)+31:00
6.#202S. Peterhansel / E. Boulanger (Team Audi Sport) +34:12
7.#214V. Zala / P. Fiuza(X-Raid Arijus Team)+37:07
8.#221G. de Mevius / X. Panseri (Overdrive Racing) +41:51
9.#203S. Loeb / F. Lurquin (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) +43:03
10.#206L. Moraes / A. Monleon (Toyota GAZOO Racing) +54:47
11.#209G. De Villiers / D. Murphy (Toyota GAZOO Racing) +01:01:44
13.#243G. Botterill / B. Cummings (Toyota GAZOO Racing) +01:12:30
26.#226S. Variawa / F. Cazalet (Toyota GAZOO Racing) +02:24:56
61.#216S.Quintero / D. Zenz           (Toyota GAZOO Racing) +40:21:00

 

Partners

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 TGR over numerous years, and the involvement bore fruit when the team won a second Dakar title in January 2022, and a third in 2023.

SpeedMax is a CantuStore's private label, which is the largest omnichannel platform and leader in tire replacement market in Brazil. SpeedMax promotes maximum performance through high-performance tires that suit all types of vehicles, from passenger cars to trucks and tractors, as well as inner tubes and truck wheels.

The team is also supported by Innovation Group Services, Toyota Financial Services, Toyota Genuine Motor Oil, Eurol, Repsol Renewable Fuels, BF Goodrich, Sparco, Maxion Wheels and Kinto. SVR is supported by Jonsson Workwear, USN and Ingco.