Victory for Toyota Gazoo Racing
Toyota has won its first ever Dakar after dominating the rally in Peru with Toyota Gazoo Racing SA teams claiming first place at every stage.
Having lead the Dakar 2019 from the first to last stages, Toyota Gazoo Racing claimed its first ever win with three times winner Nasser Al Attiyah in the driving seat.
After a very successful 2018, which included a victory in both World Rally Championship and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the milestone win was described as “the cherry on top”.
“This is the one spot we needed,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal Glyn Hall after the dust had settled over the 41st edition of the Dakar. “And it feels amazing to finally win.”
With navigator Mathieu Baumel, Al Attiyah lead every stage of the rally except the second which teammates Giniel de Villers and Dirk von Zitzewitz headed before tumbling out of contention on Stage 3 after hitting a rock in thick dust. They were joined by Berhard ten Brinke and Xavier Panseri the following day when a similar incident also relegated them to supporting roles for Al Attiyah.
“In a sense it was very comforting to have two water carriers supporting Nasser,” said Hall after the race. “But even so, I’d have preferred to have had them challenging for overall positions rather than stage wins.”
Sadly, Ten Brinke / Panseri’s race came to a premature end on Stage 8, when they suffered transmission failure in some of the biggest dunes on this year’s race leaving De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz as the sole supporting crew for Al Attiyah and Baumel.
“Obviously we came here to try to win the race,” said De Villiers, who recorded a ninth place in the end. “But once that dream ended, we were happy to support Nasser and Mathieu’s effort. If we couldn’t win it ourselves, the next best thing was for one of our teammates to take the victory, and I am overjoyed at the final result.”
Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation, commented: “I believe each team rose to the challenge, unyielding to the extreme environments of the Dakar Rally, and pushing the Toyota Group's philosophy of ‘making even-better cars’ ever onwards.”