Köln, Germany,

Solid opening stage in Abu Dhabi for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

  • 4th on Stage 1 for Lucas Moraes and Armand Monleon
  • 8th on Stage 1 for Seth Quintero and Dennis Zenz
  • GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U ran faultlessly

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing continued its participation in the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship in Abu Dhabi, taking on Round 2 of the season, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The opening stage of the race, which was contested over a distance of 248 km of soft sand and dunes, saw Lucas Moraes and Armand Monleon set the 4th-fastest time of the day. Teammates Seth Quintero and Dennis Zenz opened the stage, but despite having to find the route, they still managed the 8th-fastest time over the opening stage.

The two TGR crews started their Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with a short prologue on February 26th. Lucas and Armand set the 4th-fastest time over the 5km route, putting them in a good position from which to attack the opening stage. Seth and Dennis, however, posted the 10th-fastest time on the Prologue, which forced them to open the first stage - not an ideal position, yet the GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U crew managed to restrict their time loss over the opening stage to just 11min 7sec to the stage winners.

At the same time, Lucas and Armand made the most of their road position, to post the 4th-fastest time, just 6min 32sec behind the stage winners. All the crews were forced to contend with extremely soft sand in the stage, which wreaked havoc with the fuel consumption of their vehicles. This forced the crews to manage their performance carefully, in order to ensure that they had enough fuel to complete the stage. In the end, both TGR crews reached the finish with extremely small fuel margins.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge continues with Stage 2, which is set to start in Aldannah City, before heading to a new bivouac at Mezaira'a via a timed stage of 239km. The stage will consist mainly of sandy tracks and dunes, again forcing the crews to keep an eye on their fuel consumption, as they wind their way towards the Saudi Arabian border. The 2024 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge consists of five stages, with the final stage taking place on Saturday, March 2nd. The total racing distance for this year's race is 1,179 km; with a total race distance of 1,902 km, which includes the liaisons linking the bivouacs and stages.



Alain Dujardyn, W2RC Team Principal: "The opening stage of the 2024 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge was a tough one for all the crews. However, we are relieved and proud to be able to say that both our crews not only managed their fuel consumption well throughout the stage, but also that they brought their GR DKR Hilux EVO cars back to the bivouac without any technical problems. At the same time, I would like to congratulate Toyota privateers, Guillaume de Mevius and Juan Yacopini on their sterling performances, respectively posting the second and third fastest times on the opening stage."

Lucas Moraes: "Yeah, my first stage ever in this rally, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. To me it was very, very hard. At the beginning I didn't feel comfortable, but we managed to keep going at a good pace. But the most important thing is we finished in the top five, we finished fourth. The car performed well, and eventually I felt more comfortable behind the wheel as well. Armand nailed the navigation, so all good. Good to be done with the first day and looking forward to tomorrow."

Armand Monleon: "Honestly, it was a physical stage. I mean, there were many drops, many sharp dunes, so it was really physical. Not too tricky on the navigation, but the fuel consumption of the car was a different story. I mean, today the consumption was crazy high, and we need to check the litres we got and the kilometres we got to finish the stage. It is a calculation the whole time to get the maximum rhythm as possible with the fuel we got. So, this was the key today."



1#206 N. Al-Attiyah / E. Boulanger(Nasser Racing by Prodrive) 03h 34min 53sec
2#201G. de Mevius / X. Panseri (Overdrive Racing)+03:08
3#210J. Yacopini / D. Oliveras (Overdrive Racing)+05:16
4#203L. Moraes / A. Monleon (Toyota GAZOO Racing)+06:32
5#204M. Prokop / V. Chytka (Orlen Jipocar Team) +06:49
6#205D. Krotov / K. Zhiltsov(Overdrive Racing)+09:25
7#209Y. Al Rajhi / T. Gottschalk(Overdrive Racing)+10:03
8#211S. Quintero / D. Zenz(Toyota GAZOO Racing)+11:07
9#304A. Jones / O. Mena(CAN-AM Factory Team)+11:47
10#301R. Baciuska / O. Vidal (CAN-AM Factory Team)+14:31



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.