Brussels, Belgium,

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's Nasser Al-Attiyah to open Dakar Rally

  • Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel are in the best possible start position for tomorrow’s 2021 Dakar Rally after finishing fastest on the 11-kilometre Prologue in Jeddah today which will see the pair start their Dakar campaign ahead of the pack in clear air.
  • Dakar debutant Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings demonstrated their capabilities and will start their first Dakar Rally together in seventh position.
  • Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro encountered a throttle response problem at the start of the Prologue and will start in 18th position.
  • Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy will start from 26th position on the road tomorrow.

Glyn Hall, Team Principal: We are very pleased with Nasser and Mathieu setting the fastest time. They’ve proven before that they are happy to attack from the front. Henk and Brett did exactly what we had hoped they’d do: A solid performance that places them in a good position for Stage 1.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah (No. 301): It was a good start for us and I’m happy with the results. It wasn’t easy, despite being a short Prologue. There were lots of big rocks and the speed was high. Still, Mathieu did a good job on the notes, and we managed to go fastest. It was a tricky little section and I had to work quite hard, but now we have a good position for the first stage.”

Giniel de Villiers (No. 304): “We had a small problem with the throttle not responding at the start of the prologue, so the team will be taking a good look at the system to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Luckily the problem disappeared shortly after we started, otherwise we could have had big problems. Even so, we lost some time due to the problem – nothing major, and we’ll just have to push a bit on Stage 1.”

Henk Lategan (No. 332): “The stage was okay, even though it was a bit sketchy in the beginning. We got a bit confused with one of the notes and were quite hesitant. But then we found the right way, and managed to post a competitive time regardless.”

Shameer Variawa (No. 330): “I’m glad to have the prologue done and dusted. It was only 11 km long but we went at a good pace and left just a little bit in reserve to stay safe. Now we’re looking forward to Stage 1.”


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