ADDC 2024: TOYOTA GAZOO Racing continues 2024 W2RC at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

ADDC 2024: TOYOTA GAZOO Racing continues 2024 W2RC at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

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Lucas Moraes and Seth Quintero return to W2RC action
GR DKR Hilux T1U unchanged from Dakar Rally

The 2024 edition of the Dakar Rally featured as Round 1 of this year's World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC). The race proved to be a tough outing for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, who fielded two young, developing talents in the form of Brazilian Lucas Moraes and American Seth Quintero. Both drivers completed the world's toughest automotive race from behind the wheel of the new GR DKR Hilux Evo T1U, though their results differed significantly.

Lucas, together with co-driver, Armand Monleon from Spain, drove a steady race, looking set for a third place finish in the latter part of the race. A technical setback on Stage 11 of the race, however, saw Lucas and Armand drop down to 9th in the overall standings by the time the race reached the finish in the Saudi Arabian city of Yanbu. This also impacted their W2RC results, with the pair bagging a total of 40 points during the Dakar Rally, including 5 points for winning Stage 3 of the race. This places them in 4th place in the W2RC standings after the opening round, 36 points adrift of the leaders.

Seth Quintero, who is partnered with German co-driver, Dennis Zenz, for 2024, started the Dakar Rally in fine form, showing competitive pace from the start. A heavy impact with a rock in Stage 4, however, brought their progress to a sudden halt, as the twin-turbo V6 petrol engine in their car was too severely damaged to continue. The team elected to change the engine, incurring substantial penalties as a result.

This dropped Seth and Dennis out of contention for race victory, but allowed them to continue scoring points towards the W2RC. They never fully regained their stride, however, and added only 5 points to their tally during the Dakar Rally. As such, they have a lot of ground to make up on the leaders at Round 2 of the season, which starts in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Round 2 of the 2024 W2RC, will start with a short Prologue to determine the final starting orders, on Monday, February 26th. This will be followed by five tough racing stages, traversing the largest sea of sand in the world, the Rub'Al Khali Desert. This year will see the 33rd running of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC), which will be followed by the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid in Portugal and Spain, during April of this year. The Desafio Ruta 40 will be Round 4 of the W2RC, and will take place in Argentina during June, with the 5th and final round, the Rally of Morocco, taking place during October.

Alain Dujardyn, W2RC Team Principal: "This year's Dakar Rally was a challenging race for us, though we were prepared to face some challenges due to our relatively young crew line-up. Despite a lack of experience in the GR DKR Hilux Evo T1U, both Lucas and Seth adapted quickly to the new car, and we are looking forward to the rest of the W2RC season. While the team's focus will be on our own crews, we are also proud to have two privately entered Toyota Hiluxes ahead of us in the standings, thanks to the sterling work done by Guillaume de Mevius and Guerlain Chicherit during this year's Dakar Rally. Now, we must turn our focus to the task at hand, which is to score as many points as possible during each stage of the upcoming season. The ADDC has proven a tough challenge in the past, but we are confident in the abilities of our car and our crews, and we are looking forward to returning to the desert sands of Abu Dhabi."

Source: Toyota

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