After 12 grueling stages, the 2020 Dakar rally has run its course. But for South Africa’s Toyota Gazoo Racing, the end-result will leave a bitter-sweet aftertaste.
The team’s lead driver over the course of the race, Nasser Al-Attiyah, stayed within striking distance of the overall lead, but in the end lost out by 6min21sec. Al-Attiyah finished the endurance race in second place overall, but will rue the missed opportunities he encountered.
After the race finished in the entertainment complex of Qiddiyah, 40km from the city centre of Riyadh, the Qatari said: “It was a tough fight. Unfortunately, we just lost too much time to punctures, a penalty and one navigational mistake. It cost us the victory, but we’ll be back to fight again next year.”
On the final day, eventual 2020 winner, Carlos Sainz (Mini), started the day with an advantage of more than 10min over the Toyota driver. Despite the stage being shortened to just 167km, Al-Attiyah proved that this year’s Hilux had what it takes to have taken the overall victory.
‘Plenty to be proud of’
Though the end-result might not have gone Toyota Gazoo Racing’s way, the team has plenty to celebrate. Three of their cars finished in the top 10, while Fernando Alonso, driving the fourth Hilux, was the highest-placed rookie of this year’s race. The Spaniard finished in a well-deserved 13th place.
Team principal, Glynn Hall, said: “We came here to win, so we can’t help but be disappointed with the final result. Then again, we have three cars in the Top 10, and finished second after a tough battle, so there’s plenty to be proud of.
“In the end, we brought all four of our cars to the finish without any technical issues. That in itself is a great achievement, especially considering the terrain we had to traverse.”
2020 Dakar Rally Stage 12 Results:
1st No. 300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, 1hr 17min 30sec
4th No. 310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +3min 25sec
7th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +4min 31sec
8th No. 307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +4min 40sec
2020 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage 12:
2nd No. 300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +6min 21sec
5th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +1hr 7min 9sec
7th No. 307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +1hr 18min 34sec
13th No. 310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +4hr 42min 47sec
Compiled by: Charlen Raymond