On Saturday, crews took a well-deserved break from racing at the 2020 edition of the Dakar rally, but services resumed on Sunday, 12 January 2020.
Stage 7, the longest stage at this year’s event, saw drivers cover a total distance of 546km.
According to Toyota Gazoo Racing’s official team report, the drivers could attack and make up time in the small sand dunes, but the stage offered nearly 250km of flat-out racing.
Unfortunately, this part of the stage favoured the rear-wheel drive Mini’s, which resulted in TGR losing more time to eventual stage winner and overall leader, Carlos Sainz.
South African driver, Giniel de Villiers, said that while their Hilux had what it takes to compete for outright glory, they simply could not match the Mini’s.
De Villiers said: “We also struggled with the top speed of the Hilux, which simply cannot match the two-wheel-drive buggies for outright pace. We really need some more technical terrain, so that we can use the Toyota’s four-wheel-drive abilities to attack.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah, the highest-finishing Toyota driver on the stage, shared De Villiers sentiments, found themselves in the lead through the first section, but lost heavily when it came down to flat out racing. Al-Attiyah and co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, lost 2min12sec to Sainz, and are now 10min00sec behind in the overall standings.
With five stages remaining in this year’s rally, all four TGR teams find themselves in the Top 15. Stage 8 features 239km of liaisons, together with 477km of timed racing over fast, hard-packed terrain. The TGR team report says of Stage 8: “This will again benefit the two-wheel-drives, but the closing four stages may suit the four-wheel-drive cars more.”
2020 Dakar Rally Stage 7 Results:
2nd No. 300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +2min 12sec
4th No. 307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +2min 58sec
6th No. 310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +7min 49sec
7th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +10min 19sec
2020 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage 7:
2nd No. 300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +10min 00sec
6th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +1hrs 5min 58sec
7th No. 307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +1hr 15min 56sec
14th No. 310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +3hrs 26min 02sec
Compiled by: Charlen Raymond