4x4, dakar rally, Motoring News, motorsport, off-road racing, toyota

One stage left! Can Toyota’s Al-Attiyah haul back 10min?

2nd on Stage 11 for Al-Attiyah/Baumel
4th on Stage 11 for Ten Brinke/Colsoul
6th on Stage 11 for De Villiers/Haro
Alonso/Coma fight back after roll

DWARFED BY THE DUNES: One of the South AFrican Toyota Hilux Dakar teams’ bakkies looks like a toy as it crests yet another sand dune. Image: Supplied

HARADH, Saudi Arabia – The second part of the tough Dakar Rally Marathon Stage saw crews race from the small overnight bivouac at Shubaytah back to the main camp near the town of Haradh.

The South African Toyota crews finished well up in the order, especially Nasser Al-Attiyah /  Mathieu Baumel who seta blistering pace over the 379km-long special stage behind eventual stage winner Stéphane Peterhansel by just 10sec and closing to within 10min17 of the overall leader Carlos Sainz (Mini)

It was a scintillating performance over extremely tricky terrain, including an 80km dune field that the teams had to cross soon after the start. The Qatari driver and his French partner never set a wheel wrong so today will have have ”one more roll of the dice in their quest for a second successive Dakar win”.

There remains, however, a major problem….

READ MORE Dakar reports on the official site

The Toyota Gazoo team boss, Glyn Hall, told The Corner in a communication from the desert: “Their chances were dealt a severe blow this afternoon, however, The organisers were forced to shorten the Friday stage to only 167km, due to a problem in one of the areas that the route crosses.

”That means we’ve probably run out of kilometres.”

Should this be the case Al-Attiyah and Baumel will rue the time lost on Stage 10 which saw them drop 18 minutes in the overall standings due to a navigation error. They – and many other teams – also suffered multiple punctures in the opening stages of the race and incurred a three-minute penalty early on.

Thursday’s Stage 11, the Gazoo correspondent reported, was a good one Hollander Bernhard ten Brinke and Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul. They were fourth-fastest on the stage and moved up to seventh overa pair went 4th-fastest on the day, and moved up into seventh overall.

READ MORE Dakar stuff on Carman’s Corner

De Villiers and Haro placed 6th on the stage, 12min 14sec behind the stage winners. They moved into 5th place overall, but are unlikely to catch the Toyota Hilux crew of Yazeed Al-Rajhi in 4th place.

Fernando Alonso and Marc Com rolled their bakkie on the first kilometre of Thursday’s Stage 10 but  fought back to eighth on the stage. They’re 13th overall with only today’s (Friday) stage before the finish.

Today’s stage will see the crews race from the bivouac at Haradh to the Saudi capital of Riyadh where the rally will end  at the entertainment city of Qiddiyah – a purpose-built facility, where the final podium will also be waiting..

2020 Dakar Rally January 17 stage placings
2nd Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baume, +10sec
4th Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul +10min14
6th Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro +12min14
8th Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma +16min25

2020 Dakar Rally Overall placings after Stage 11
2nd  Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +10min17
5th Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +1hr6min34
7th Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +1hr17min50
13th Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +4hr43min18

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