Dakar 2024: Dedicated to his daughter, Moraes gives Brazil its first Dakar victory

Dakar 2024: Dedicated to his daughter, Moraes gives Brazil its first Dakar victory

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After 447km of a super competitive day, the Toyota driver won Monday's stage (8) and dedicated it to his four-year-old daughter, who is being treated in hospital

In yet another historic achievement for Brazilian motorsport, driver Lucas Moraes was the victor of the day in the 2024 edition of the Dakar Rally. Since the country's debut in 1988 in the legendary desert adventure, which this year takes place in Saudi Arabia, no Brazilian has managed to come first among all the competitors. Moraes is competing in the main category, Cars, which brings together the official factory teams and the greatest drivers in the sport from around the world.

In 2023, Moraes had already won the first Brazilian podium in the final result of an edition of the Dakar, which earned him a place in the Toyota Gazoo Racing team, the official team of the Japanese factory and current Dakar champion.

Today's special opened the so-called "marathon", a section made up of two specials and which allows only two hours on the night for possible maintenance and preparation of the cars. On arrival, the Brazilian was greeted by his teammates, thanked everyone for their help and cried with emotion. He has been suffering from the flu since the first day of the Dakar, and is also monitoring the progress of his four-year-old daughter, who has been hospitalized for meningitis. "At first, her condition scared us. It was difficult, as a father, to stay here, but the doctors said everything would be fine. Now she's much better and is expected to leave hospital tomorrow and go home. So it's a doubly happy day," said Moraes.

The 447km special - the timed section valid for the race - was very competitive. Several drivers came out on top, but the final fight for victory involved Moraes, Sweden's Mattias Ekstrom (Audi), Saudi Arabian and world champion Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Overdrive) and the current Dakar champion, Nasser Al-Athiya (Prodrive), from Qatar. At the 352km mark, Nasser took the lead from Moraes by just four seconds. Moraes opened up a 22-second gap, but Lucas reacted with a vigorous drive, retook the lead and gave Brazil its first victory in a Dakar stage. First place was secured by just 9s over the second-placed Audi RS Q e-tron E2 of Swedish duo Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist.

With the result, Lucas and navigator Armand Monleón climbed from eighth to fourth place in the overall standings of the race, which is led by Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Saudi Arabia)/Timo Gottschalk (Germany).

"The Dakar is extremely tough on the whole car, but the tires suffer a lot. And saving tires and the car is one of the main strategies for doing well in the race. It's not easy - everyone breaks down or has flat tires. But today we managed to run a clean race with good speed the whole time. Armand's navigation was perfect and allowed us to lose no time at all. We saw other competitors lose position because they had flat tires or made mistakes. Fortunately, we managed to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, which gave us this result," explained the winner of today's special, who has the support of Red Bull, Repsol, Strava, Oakley and Zapalla, as well as having taken the Brazilian tire brand SpeedMax as the sponsor of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team in this Dakar.

More informations about the Brazilian teams on
Source: Best PR

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