Motoring News

Toyota ready for Morocco – and a Dakar warm-up

RALLY OF MOROCCO 2019. Image: Supplied

FEZ, Morocco – Toyota Gazoo Racing SA is all set to race in the 2019 Rally of Morocco which will start in the ancient city of Fez on October 5 and is considered a warm-up for the Dakar Rally.

The team has completed a four-day test session leading up to the race to further refine the Dakar-winning Toyota Hilux.

Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, partnered by Frenchman Mathieu Baumel, will be defending the Morocco crown for the fifth time while South African Giniel de Villiers and new co-driver Alex Haro are hoping to cement their in-car relationship and validate some of the recent changes to the Toyota Hilux.

Finally, Hollander Bernhard ten Brinke, now partnered by Belgian Tom Colsoul, will complete the Gazoo team.

READ MORE Rally of Morocco features here

To add to the excitement, the Rally of Morocco also serves as the final round of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, which Al-Attiyah/Baumel currently lead. The pair are nine points ahead of Mini’s Stephane Peterhansel and wife Andrea, who are realistically the only crew capable of catching the Toyotas.

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s team boss Glyn Hall told The Corner in a media release: “We had an excellent testing and training session here in Morocco. Giniel has been running a comprehensive sock-absorber test and we believe we’ve now tuned the suspension to the next level.”

TESTING TIME

At the same time Al-Attiyah/Baumel and Ten Brinke/Colsoul used the opportunity to finalise their set-ups for the race and become reacquainted with Morocco’s terrain.

The team was also joined at the test by former F1 driver Fernando Alonso and Marc Coma of Toyota Gazoo Racing who completed 1400km of training as part of their quest to prepare for a Dakar 2020 entry and will also be competing in the Rally of Morocco.

Hall added: “With our preparations done, the next step is to complete the technical requirements for the race then it is flat-out over five treacherous stages of racing.”

  • The Rally of Morocco will start and finish in the central city of Fez but most of the racing will be 400km to the south, in an area around Erfoud. The race will cover 2500 km over sand dunes, gravel tracks, and rocky river crossings.

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