• Toyota Gazoo Racing's Nasser Al-Attiyah won his third consecutive Stage at Dakar 2021.
• Al-Attiyah is second overall, less than 5min behind Mini's Stephane Peterhansel.
• TGR is having an overall solid outing at the Dakar.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Stage 4 of Dakar 2021 saw Toyota Gazoo Racing's Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel record their third consecutive stage win. The pair brought their Toyota Hilux home in the fastest time on the route between Wadi Ad-Dawasir and Riyadh, Saudi's capital. Al-Attiyah and Baumel were again kept honest TGR team mates Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings, who were third on the stage - and have now moved up into fifth place in the overall standings.
TGR team principal, Glyn Hall, said from the bivouac at Riyadh: "It was another blistering stage for Nasser and Mathieu today, as they sealed their third consecutive stage win, and the second on the trot while opening the road. Henk and Brett had another fantastic day, too, and were it not for a tyre delaminating near the end of the stage, they may well have won today."
Impressive rookie crew
The rookie crew bested their illustrious team mates through several waypoints, but in the end, the tyre cost them 1min 30sec over Al-Attiyah/Baumel. This performance showed skill and maturity, and the pair have moved into the Top 5 in the overall standings as a result.
Ahead of them, Al-Attiyah has been steadily chipping away at Stephane Peterhansel's lead. The Mini driver is still 4min 58sec ahead of the Qatari, but the Toyota Hilux crew is doing everything in their power to catch up.
Further back, Dakar veteran Giniel de Villiers and navigator Alex Haro initially looked on course for a solid result, but lost 14min 57sec after a navigational error near the end of the stage. Despite this, the pair moved up into 23rd position due to the demise of fellow Toyota Hilux driver Bernhard ten Brinke, who destroyed his car in a rollover during Stage 3. De Villiers suffered from a pain in his neck throughout the stage and had to reduce speed in the rough sections as a result.
Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy had a better day on Stage 4, suffering no punctures and losing only a few minutes due to a small navigational error near the end of the stage. Overall, they lost 25min 26sec on the stage, mainly because of the dust that surrounded them thanks to their poor starting position - a result of their woes earlier in the race.
Next up is Stage 5, which stretches between Riyadh and the town of Al Qaisumah, to the North. The special stage is 456km in length, and the organisers describe it as a 'long' and 'hard' test. Dunes, stones, and sandy tracks will all come into play, and the crews will also have to complete a liaison of 205km. Dakar 2021 will reach the rest day after Stage 6, which will see the bivouac set in the area near Ha'il, before embarking on the second week of the race.