Prologue and opening stage victory for TGR’s Nasser and Mathieu in Argentina
- Prologue win for Nasser and Mathieu
- Opening stage win for Nasser and Mathieu
It was a dream start to the Desafio Ruta 40 for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al Attiyah and co-driver Nasser Mathieu. The pair set the fastest time over the short prologue on Sunday, 27 August, besting their nearest competitor by 8sec over the short route of only 9km. They continued their good form on the opening stage, setting a time of 2hr 57min 31sec – 1min 06sec clear of Yazeed Al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk, in their privately entered Toyota Hilux T1+.
Nasser and Mathieu started the Desafio Ruta 40 as the World Rally-Raid Championship leaders, 30 points clear of Yazeed and Timo. As such, a good result in Argentina, where the Desafio Ruta 40 takes place, could possibly see them seal a second consecutive W2RC title, following their victory in 2022’s inaugural season.
They set about the task at hand with clear determination, winning both the prologue and the opening stage of the rally, despite feeling uncomfortable with the rear suspension on their car, which made it difficult for Nasser to find a rhythm early in Stage 1. The TGR crew started as the 4th car on the road, but Nasser and Mathieu caught up and passed two crews ahead of them by mid-stage, leaving only Yazeed and Timo in the lead. The latter pairing suffered a puncture near the end of the stage, allowing the factory Toyota Hilux team to overtake them for the win.
In the overall standings, Nasser and Mathieu opened an early gap over Yazeed and Timo, as they completed the 333km-long special stage centred around the Argentine town of La Rioja, completing a total of 361km in liaisons linking the stage to the bivouac. While the W2RC standings are only final once a crew has successfully completed each round – with points lost if they fail to do so – a look at the virtual scoreboard shows that Nasser and Mathieu have increased their lead over Yazeed and Timo to 31 points, following their performance thus far in the Desafio Ruta 40.
Stage 2 will take the crews from the bivouac at La Rioja to the town of Belén, which is situated in an area well known for its fearsome dunes. The stage features a liaison of 120km, with a timed section of 339km that includes hard packed tracks and some extremely tricky dunes. The rally is set to conclude in the city of Salta on Friday, 01 September, after five racing stages.
Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal: “We are happy to be back in action, with our race-proved GR DKR Hilux T1+ performing perfectly over the early stages of the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina. The crew reported only a minor problem with the rear suspension on the car, but they were able to limit their time loss to the extent where they still finished at the top of the standings.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “South America may have been the home of the Dakar Rally for a decade, and even though it is very nice to be back on the continent, we still have to find our feet a little. Today, the car had a small problem with the rear suspension, and it didn’t handle in quite the way we are used to. As such, it took a lot of concentration to keep things clean, but we are very happy with the result.”
Mathieu Baumel: “The tracks for today were slightly more predictable than what we’re expecting later in the week. Even so, we had to be wide awake to avoid any costly mistakes. Nasser struggled somewhat to find a rhythm early on, but we managed to post the fastest time regardless.”
DESAFIO RUTA 40 STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 1:
1. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) / M. BAUMEL (FRA) , TOYOTA GAZOO RACING, 2:57:31
2. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU) / T. GOTTSCHALK (DEU), OVERDRIVE RACING, +01:06
3. S. HALPERN (ARG) / B. GRAUE (ARG), X-RAID MINI, +04:19
4. J. YACOPINI (ARG) / D. OLIVERAS (ESP), OVERDRIVE RACING, +10:59
5. M. GUTHRIE (USA) / K. WALCH (USA), RED BULL JUNIORS, +15:00
Please visit MEDIA | TOYOTA GAZOO Racing for additional image and video assets.
For all the news and more like, share, follow or subscribe to the TGRW2RC channels.
Facebook @TGRW2RC: https://www.facebook.com/TGRW2RC
Instagram @tgr_w2rc: https://www.instagram.com/tgr_w2rc/
Twitter @TGR_W2RC: https://twitter.com/TGR_W2RC
YouTube @tgrw2rc: https://www.youtube.com/@tgrw2rc
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.