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Dakar 2024: "Daydreaming" - Lucas Moraes returns to the Dakar with a top team

Dakar 2024: "Daydreaming" - Lucas Moraes returns to the Dakar with a top team

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Meet the Brazilian who is seen as a new force among the top drivers in the world's biggest off-road race

The author of a spectacular debut in the Dakar in January 2023, surpassing all his idols in the sport, Lucas Moraes is now entering a new phase: since November, he has been an A-team driver for the race's champion team, Toyota Gazoo Racing, replacing none other than five-time Dakar champion Nasser Al-Attiyah. Next Friday (5), the legendary race will start its 46th edition, held entirely in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, and will end a fortnight later, on January 19. Moraes, who has already made the best Brazilian debut in the Dakar ever, doesn't hide his excitement.
"Sometimes it feels like I'm daydreaming. A lot of people ask me what it's like to compete in this team and against such talented drivers. And I explain it like this: 'It's like being in Formula 1 in the rallying world'," says the two-time Sertões Rally champion, who will be competing in the Dakar with the support of Red Bull, Repsol, Strava, Oakley, Zapalla - as well as having led Brazilian tire brand SpeedMax to sponsor the Dakar champion team.
"As someone who has dreamed of being a driver since I was a child, I keep thinking: on the one hand, this moment is something surreal. On the other, the responsibility is enormous. I'm in one of the best teams in the world," he said.

Spectacular debut - Lucas Moraes caused a sensation in the most recent edition of the Dakar, taking second place just a few days before the end of the race. The Brazilian finished the race in third place, taking the podium in partnership with German navigator Timo Gottschalk. As a result, last November, after a reshuffle in the team, he was promoted to Toyota Gazoo Racing's A-team, becoming a factory driver for the World Rally Raid Championship, which is contested in races similar to the Dakar and the Rally dos Sertões.

For 2024, Lucas will have a new navigator: Spaniard Armand Monleon, who has competed in the Dakar eight times, with impressive results. "2023 was already a magical year, in which I managed to compete in the Dakar for the first time and finished on the podium, something unimaginable and far beyond expectations," recalled the Brazilian. "Now in the main TGR team, I want to repay the trust placed in me and have a good Dakar. I want to be up to the task, and I'm ready for the challenges that lie ahead. I've been preparing all my life for this," he added.

Following TGR's announcement, Lucas also took part in the Baja Qassim Rally in Saudi Arabia in November, in preparation for the 2024 Dakar. The Brazilian won one of the two stages and finished second overall. It was farewell to the Japanese carmaker's old car.
With a view to the Dakar, which starts on Friday, TGR presented a new car, the Toyota GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U. With it, Lucas will also compete in the World Rally Raid Championship. The Brazilian had the opportunity to test the new car in Namibia, on the African continent, in evaluations carried out at the beginning of December last year. "The team has once again done a great job. We're very confident. But, of course, we'll only know for sure after the first few days of racing. Let's go for it. We have a great team," he concluded.

Automatic translation of the original Portuguese Brazilian version
Source BestPR

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