• Rally victory by 6min 22sec
• Nasser tops W2RC table as TGR strengthens lead in Manufacturers championship
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and Mathieu Baumel of France celebrated a stunning overall victory in the 2023 Sonora Rally, driving their GR DKR Hilux T1+ to a second-place finish in the final stage, just 1 minute behind stage winners Yazeed Al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk. With this result, the duo secured their overall victory in the event, finishing 6 minutes and 22 seconds ahead of Al Rajhi and Gottschalk.
Stage 5, the shortest of the rally, covered a distance of 139km, with liaisons totalling 237km. The terrain between Peñasco and San Luis presented a mix of challenging desert landscapes, featuring fast sections, sandy tracks, and rocky outcrops. The diverse range of landscapes tested the teams' navigational skills, vehicle performance, and adaptability.
This overall victory has strengthened Nasser and Mathieu's position in the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) standings. They earned 51 points during the Sonora Rally, putting them 30 points clear of their nearest rivals in the season standings, with only two rounds remaining. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has also increased their lead in the Manufacturers' standings to 68 points over their nearest competition.
The 2023 Sonora Rally marked the first year the event was included in the W2RC calendar, and the race proved to be a worthy addition, offering tough terrain that resembles parts of the iconic Dakar Rally, and providing a thrilling challenge for competitors. TGR is proud to have been crowned as the first W2RC winners of this exciting event.
Throughout the rally, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel showcased their expertise, determination, and ability to overcome technical issues. Their consistent performance in the GR DKR Hilux T1+, which previously brought them victories in both the 2022 and 2023 Dakar Rallies, proved crucial in securing their win.
As the championship race heats up, the W2RC contenders now look forward to the next round, the Desafio Ruta 40, taking place in Argentina from August 26 to September 1, 2023. The Desafio Ruta 40 will provide yet another opportunity for teams to test their vehicles, strategies, and resilience in the face of challenging terrain and fierce competition.
A good result in Argentina could set the TGR crew up in a strong position for the final round of the season. Details of the route are yet to be revealed, but many of the competitors know the Argentine landscape well after a decade of Dakar Rally competition in the area. Even so, each race is unique, and the crew will make sure that they are full prepared for the challenges of the Desafio Ruta 40.
Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal: "I would like to extend my congratulations to both Nasser and Mathieu for their consistent performance throughout the Sonora Rally, which was an entirely new event for the team, and a first outing in this area for our GR DKR Hilux T1+. I would also like to thank our team of engineers and technicians, who rebuilt the car after the crash in Abu Dhabi, allowing the race crew to rely on the quality, durability and reliability that is synonymous with all Toyota products. They also did an excellent job servicing the car during the Sonora Raly. I would also like to thank Aventura Events for putting together a spectacular event – one during which we regained the upper hand in the W2RC on all fronts: Manufacturer, driver and co-driver, and we are extremely pleased with the results.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “It feels great to have completed Round 3 of the 2023 W2RC, here in Mexico. To come here after our big crash in Abu Dhabi and try to defend our title by winning the race wasn’t easy, but we managed to lead from for most of the event. We also had an amazing fight with Sebastien Loeb and Yazeed Al Rajhi, and I’m happy that we now have a big lead in the championship. Our GR DKR Hilux T1+ was back to full strength, and we had an amazing race.”
Mathieu Baumel: “It was a fantastic event, and such a pleasure to discover some more of the country of Mexico. The first two days were quite unique, racing through the cactus plants, after which things opened up a big into the more familiar, open desert feel. We enjoyed competing here, and we are very pleased to have won the event. This is a great result for us, for the rally, for the team and also for the championship.”