TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, will compete with their Dakar-winning GR DKR Hilux T1+ in the final two rounds of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship.
Round 4 – the Desafio Ruta 40 – will take place in Argentina next week
Round 5 – the Rally of Morocco – will take place around the middle of October
Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel currently lead the W2RC standings after winning the Sonora Rally in Mexico earlier this season. They are currently 30 points ahead of their nearest competitor in the W2RC standings – and second place is also occupied by a Toyota Hilux T1+ driver, in the form of privateer, Yazeed Al Rajhi (Saudi Arabia). At the same time, Toyota GAZOO Racing leads the Manufacturer’s Championship by 63 points.
The Desafio Ruta 40 is the penultimate event in the 2023 W2RC, and this is the first time the race is featured on the W2RC calendar. However, the areas in which the race takes place – La Rioja, Belén and Salta – are somewhat familiar to the crews who competed in the South American Dakar Rallies. With that said, the mix of terrain types, including rocky traverses and massive dunes, is sure to test all the crews equally. The race will take place from 26 August to 1 September and consists of five stages.
The next engagement for Nasser, Mathieu and the Toyota GAZOO Racing team after the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally will the fifth and last round of the 2023 W2RC season, the Rally of Morocco, taking place on 12-18 October.
Shortly after the Rally of Morocco, Toyota GAZOO Racing will announce its global TGR Dakar and W2RC line-up for 2024. The team remains firmly committed to W2RC as part of its roadmap towards Dakar Future 2026.
Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal: “I am pleased to confirm the continuity of our successful partnership with Nasser and Mathieu for the remainder of the 2023 W2RC season. I’m also pleased to be able to announce our continued TOYOTA GAZOO Racing participation in the next W2RC season. Later this year, after the Rally of Morocco, we’ll confirm further details for 2024 including our driver and vehicle line-up. However, for the moment, our focus is on the Desafio Ruta 40, which is sure to offer a stern test not only to the crew, but also to our GR DKR Hilux T1+.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “I am excited to be able to complete the final two rounds of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, and the upcoming races offer fantastic opportunities for us to score valuable points in our quest to win back-to-back W2RC titles. Regarding next week’s Desafio Ruta 40, I know the area where we are going, and especially the dunes of Belén can be tough. But let’s see!”
Mathieu Baumel: “We haven’t raced rally-raid in South America since the Dakar Rally moved to Saudi Arabia, so going back to the areas that we knew well in the past may sound easy. However, we also know from bitter experience that no South American route is easy, and the dunes of Belén has tripped up many competitors in the past. We’ll be aiming to avoid any problems and score maximum points.”
W2RC DRIVER STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 3:
1. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT), TOYOTA GAZOO RACING - 136
2. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU), OVERDRIVE RACING - 106
3. S. LOEB (FRA), BAHRAIN RAID XTREME - 101
4. S. HALPERN, X-RAID MINI - 74
5. J. YACOPINI (ARG), OVERDRIVE RACING - 69
W2RC MANUFACTURER STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 3:
1. TOYOTA GAZOO RACING - 175
2. X-RAID MINI JCW TEAM - 107
3. BAIC ORV - 100
4. BAHRAIN RAID XTREME - 90