Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, are within striking distance for the overall lead of this year’s Dakar rally.
The duo had stellar pace on Stage 4 and finished 2min26sec behind Mr. Dakar, Stephane Peterhansel (Mini).
Al-Attiyah and Baumel were the top finishers for team Toyota Gazoo Racing.
A perfect run
After the pair reached the bivouac near the central Saudi Arabian city of Al Ulat eam principal, Glynn Hall, said: “Nasser and Mathieu had a fantastic stage today. The Toyota Hilux ran absolutely perfectly, and they didn’t have a single puncture.”
According to the team report from #Dakar2020, South African driver, Giniel de Villiers, and co-driver Alex Haro, suffered three punctures on the 672km-long stage, two of which came within 100m of each other. The pair ended the day in sixth place.
De Villiers said: “It was just one of those days. We had good pace when we were going, but the punctures really put us on the back foot. We had to drive the last 100km without a spare, so we couldn’t take any chances.”
De Villiers and Haro lost 18min16sec to Peterhansel, and dropped 34min40sec behind overall leader, Carlos Sainz (Mini).
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Nasser Al-Attiyah (right) giving feedback. Image: MotorPress
Bernhard ten Brinke and co-driver, Tom Colsoul, finished the stage in seventh place and now find themselves in eighth place overall - 44min40sec behind Sainz. Ten Brinke is suffering from a bout of flu, but is still pushing his body to achieve maximum results for the team.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s fourth team of Fernando Alonso and Marc Coma didn’t have a trouble-free day, either. The duo suffered a three punctures and drove the last 200km without any spare wheels.
Hall concluded: “Overall, it was a good day for us. Nasser did a great job of making up time without any punctures; while the rest of the crews managed to restrict their time loss despite struggling with flat tyres.”
Stage 5 will see the crews race from Al Ula to the city of Ha’il via a stage of 564km, including a racing section of 353km. The terrain promises to be sandier than that encountered so far, which may suit the Toyota Hilux more than the extremely rocky tracks that play havoc with the rubber.