Dakar victory for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing as Al-Attiyah/Baumel take the win
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel brought their GR DKR Hilux T1+ home safely on the final stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally to win the event overall by 27min 46sec. This is the Qatari driver’s second victory for the team, having previously won the event in 2019. At the same time, Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings won the closing stage of the rally, beating the opposition by 49sec.
For Nasser and Mathieu, the final stage presented few real problems, despite challenging navigation. The pair had taken the lead in the rally during the opening stage of the event, and were never in danger of relinquishing that position. They won the prologue for the 2022 edition of the rally on January 1st, and powered to two more stage wins on their way to overall victory.
This victory is significant for Nasser, as he has expressed the hope to win in the Arab world since the Dakar first moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020. He came agonisingly close in both 2020 and 2021, before securing his first win in Saudi Arabia in 2022. At the same time, the victory means a lot to the team who developed the new GR DKR Hilux T1+, which features larger wheels and tyres, more wheel travel, and the 3.5 litre twin-turbo V6 engine that also powers the new Toyota Land Cruiser GR Sport. Winning the race with a new car is testament of the team’s ability to continuously push the limits of engineering, and build ever-better cars.
The final stage was also a redemption for Henk and Brett, who sacrificed their own chances of a stage win when they selflessly waited for their leading teammates to pass them in Stage 11, in order to lend support if needed. But the pair decided to attack on Stage 12, despite starting the timed section well down the order. They brought their Hilux home in 1hr 35min 19sec, besting the competition despite having to stop mid-stage in order to change a punctured tyre.
For Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy, the 2022 edition of the world’s toughest cross-country race brought many highs and lows. However, it was a broken oil pipe that put paid to their podium aspirations mid-race. Despite this, the South Africans soldiered on, winning one stage outright, and deservedly attaining a place in the Top 5. Their time in the closing stage was 5min 30sec behind that posted by Henk and Brett, but it was enough to secure 5th place in the overall standings.
Dakar 2022 saw Shameer Variawa and co-driver Danie Stassen cement their in-car relationship, as they powered through some early-race jitters and bad luck, to record multiple solid stage results. By the time they completed the final stage, mid-way between the cities of Bisha and Jeddah, the pair had moved into 15th place overall. This was Shameer’s second Dakar finish, and a maiden finish for his co-driver.
Dakar 2022 was the 44th edition of the iconic event, which first took place in January 1978. The event took place in northern Africa until 2007, with the 2008 event cancelled due to a terrorist threat. The rally moved to South America in 2009, where it enjoyed a decade of spectacular scenery and tough terrain. In 2020, the first Saudi Arabian edition of the event took place, with the 2022 edition covering 4,261km of competitive stages.