TOYOTA GAZOO Racing heads to Spain for final round of W2RC
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel are primed to conclude the 2022 World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC), with the final round of the inaugural season taking place in Andalusia, Spain, from 18 to 23 October 2022. The Toyota Hilux crew find themselves 22 points ahead in the overall standings after the opening three rounds, but will need solid results in Spain, if they are to secure the title.
Nasser and Mathieu took the early lead after winning the gruelling Dakar Rally in January this year. With the Dakar serving as Round 1 of the W2RC, the pair clearly signalled their intent to challenge for the title this year. However, a mishap in the opening stage of Round 2, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, saw the pair settling for second place in Round 2, relinquishing the lead in the title fight as a result.
Rally Kazakhstan was scheduled to serve as Round 3 of the W2RC, but was cancelled by the organisers. This left a seven-month gap to the next round, the Rally of Morocco, where Nasser and Mathieu finished in 3rd place overall, scoring a total of 33 points during the event, thanks to good stage results.
The team has conducted several activities away from official racing, including co-drive experiences for select guests in Spain earlier this year and continued testing in the UAE and Qatar; with a forthcoming comprehensive pre-race test session planned near the town of Teruel, in the eastern part of Spain.
TGR also elected to enter Nasser and Mathieu in the Qatar International Baja during the break, even though that race is not part of the W2RC. Racing in front of Nasser’s home crowd, the crew brought their Dakar-winning GR DKR Hilux T1+ home in a faultless display, comfortably winning the race despite the final stage being curtailed by poor weather.
Now they will face five competitive stages at the Andalucia Rally, as well as a short, sharp prologue of 12 km on October 19th, which is used to determine the starting orders for the opening stage. This will be followed by Thursday’s opening stage of 315 km, before the rally settles into three more stages. The total competitive distance for the event is 1,014 km, and the rally will draw to a close on Sunday October 23rd, in the Spanish city of Dos Hermanas, which serves as the HQ throughout the race.
W2RC Standings after Round 3: (drivers)
1. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 144
2. S. Loeb (FRA) Bahrain Raid Xtreme 122
3. Y. Al Rajhi (SAU) Overdrive Racing 100
4. J. Przygonski (POL) X-Raid Mini JCW Team 77
5. F. Contardo (CHL) Can-Am 50
W2RC Standings after Round 3: (manufacturers)
1. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 140
2. Bahrain Raid Xtreme 120
3. X-Raid MINI JCW Team 92
4. OT3 by Overdrive 86
5. PH Sport 46