Victory on stage 3 of Morocco Rally sees Nasser and Mathieu cement their lead for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel stamped their authority on the 2021 Rally of Morocco, when they won their third consecutive stage. The crew also won the prologue late last week, bringing their tally for the event to four consecutive victories.
Stage 3, which again started and finished near the town of Zagora, saw crews cover a timed stage of 341km, with liaisons of 75km before the start and 187km after the finish, to bring everyone back to the bivouac. The terrain was rocky with some sandy tracks, but lacked the dunes that marked Stage 2.
As the first car into the stage, Nasser and Mathieu again had the task of plotting a route to the various waypoints. This would usually cost a crew significant time, but the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing duo made light work of the challenge, fending off their nearest competitors and winning their third full stage on the trot.
The crew started the day with a lead of 10min 18sec over Yazeed Al Rajhi and Michael Orr, also in a Toyota Hilux. By the end of the day, that lead had grown to exactly 13min, giving Nasser and Mathieu some breathing space at the top of the standings.
The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing crew will again open the road for Stage 4. This penultimate stage will be contested over 367km, with a liaison of 118km before the stage, and 60km after completion of the timed section. As before, the terrain is expected to offer a mix of rocks, sand and small dunes.
Toyota continues its dominance in the Top 5 positions, with Nasser and Mathieu spear-heading the charge. The works team have built up a healthy buffer over the crews behind, and may elect to slow the pace somewhat over the closing stages. The rally is set to finish on Wednesday, 13 October, with a final stage of 291km.
STAGE 3 RESULTS:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel Toyota Hilux (TGR) 3hr 29min 21sec
2. Jakub Przygonski/Timo Gottschalk MINI +27sec
3. Yazeed Al Rajhi/Michael Orr Toyota Hilux (Overdrive) +2min 42sec
4. Matthieu Serradori/Loic Minaudier SRT Racing +6min 13sec
5. Sebastian Halperin/Bernardo Graue MINI +12min 7sec
STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 3:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel Toyota Hilux (TGR) 10hr 21min 19sec
2. Yazeed Al Rajhi/Michael Orr Toyota Hilux (Overdrive) +13min 00sec
3. Lucio Alvarez/Armand Monleon Toyota Hilux (Overdrive) +45min 13sec
4. Ronan Chabot/Gilles Pillot Toyota Hilux (Overdrive) +50min 17sec
5. Mattias Ekstrom/Emil Bergkvist MINI +58min 56sec
Glyn Hall, Team Principal:
“Once again, Nasser and Mathieu showed just how fast our Toyota Hilux can be. The car ran faultlessly, and came through the tough stage without punctures. The crew did a perfect job of managing the pace and pushing at the right time, and we are very proud of their stage win today.”
“We all did a good job today, even though we opened the road again. The Hilux was perfect, we had no punctures, and Mathieu managed to find the route without any problems. We took it easy early on, but then pushed towards the end, which gave us the stage win.”
“As always, opening the stage brought some challenges, but we didn’t have any issues today. Nasser drove like the champion that he is, and we pushed on a bit near the end of the stage. We didn’t take any risks, and now that we have a good stage, that will be our strategy going forward.”