Tough SS10 for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing on 2020 Dakar Rally
Stage 10 of the 2020 Dakar Rally proved to be one of drama for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing with two crews losing valuable time. Dakar title defenders, Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel suffered with mid-stage navigation, losing 17min 46sec. Fernando Alonso and navigator Marc Coma rolled their Toyota Hilux shortly after starting the 680-kilometre stage when crossing a steep sand dune. The crew emerged unscathed but the car sustained a broken windscreen and bent suspension components.
At around midday, the rally organisers decided to stop the Marathon Stage which took crews from Haradh to Shubaytah at the 345-kilometre mark citing safety concerns due to emergency response resources being stretched following a day of attrition, as well as worsening weather conditions which grounded helicopters. Competitors were guided to the Marathon Bivouac via the liaison route.
Nasser and Mathieu crossed the finish line in 17th place without any technical issues. The stage finish position, which determines the crew’s starting position for Stage 11, should allow them to attack and reduce the lead gap in the hope of keeping their title defence alive. With two stages remaining, Nasser and Mathieu remain runners-up in the overall standings, but with the lead gap increasing to 18min 10sec.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s fastest crew on Stage 10 were Giniel de Villiers and navigator Alex Haro who finished the stage third fastest. Despite losing 4min 26sec on the stage, they continue to hold on to sixth place overall. They are now within 4min 44sec of fifth place and will continue to look at closing the gap in the final stages of the race.
Bernhard ten Brinke and navigator Tom Colsoul reported a clean run through the feared Marathon Stage where crews will not have the benefit of a service by the team’s mechanics, instead relying only on themselves and fellow competitors to make necessary repairs. The pair brought their Toyota Hilux to the Shubaytah bivouac sixth fastest on the stage, 6min 40sec behind the lead and maintain their seventh overall position with a gap of 1hr 15min 39sec to the lead.
Following their roll, Fernando and Marc set off after a brief pause to check each other’s conditions before setting off immediately. The pair stopped to attend to the punctures sustained during the roll and repair bent suspension components. Before setting off again, Fernando and Marc removed the cracked windscreen which impacted their visibility, continuing to the end of the shortened stage wearing goggles to keep the dust out. They lost a total of 1hr 17min 33sec on the stage finish in 55th place, but were immediately back up to a competitive pace after on-stage repairs. As a result of the time loss, the crew are now in 14th place overall, 4hrs 34min 56sec behind the leaders.
The penultimate stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally will take crews on a 744-kilometre route from the Marathon Bivouac in Shubaytah back to their teams still in the primary bivouac in Haradh. Stage 11 features a 379-kilometre special which will start with 80 kilometres of dune crossings, before tackling faster tracks and rocky crossings towards the comfort of their teams.
Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “We had some drama with both Nasser and Fernando today, but unfortunately we don’t have much detail as the crews are staying at the Marathon Bivouac in Shubaytah, more than 600 kilometres away. We do know that Nasser and Mathieu had difficulties with navigation and that Fernando and Marc rolled their Hilux very early in the stage. Thankfully the crew were unhurt, but the car was lightly damaged. They made some road-side repairs and continued without a windscreen, but made it safely to the bivouac. I’m sure they’ll be able to do more repairs tonight, and should be back on the pace again tomorrow.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah (No. 300): “The stage started really well for us and we quickly caught up with the car in front of us. But then both of us struggled to find a waypoint, which cost us a few minutes. Unfortunately, we took the wrong track after finding the spot and we ended up doing 20 kilometres extra. We made our way back but lost about 18 minutes. That’s the way the game works and tomorrow is still a long stage. It isn’t over yet and tomorrow’s stage starts with 80 kilometres of difficult dunes, so anything can happen. But today was a little bit disappointing for us.”
Giniel de Villiers (No. 304): “Today’s stage was only 230 kilometres long, with the second part cancelled due to safety. It was a really difficult stage and quite dangerous with many sharp dunes. The visibility was also a problem this morning due to the high wind speeds. We decided to take a cautious approach and finished in third place. Tomorrow promises to be another difficult stage but we’ll try our best as always.”
Bernhard ten Brinke (No. 307): “It was quite a nice stage although we found it difficult and quite dangerous, with many dune slip faces. We did find the shortened stage somewhat too short to our liking, but it was probably better for the car as we made it here with no damage. The Hilux is in perfect shape, so we are in a good position to take on tomorrow’s stage.”
Fernando Alonso (No. 310): “We rolled the car early on in the stage which changed our original plans. In general, I think we had a good day despite the roll, because we didn’t lost too much time. We lost a few places in the overall standings but I’m happy to have experienced another challenging day at the Dakar. After the roll, we had to change the wheels and suspension arm because we felts something strange. We felt 100% after that, until the stage was stopped by the organisers. In the end, it was better for us to spend a bit more time at the bivouac so we could wait for the assistance truck and try to repair the windscreen for tomorrow. I think we were quite lucky today; to get to the end of the stage and still be in 14th place overall. Our Hilux is still running and we didn’t sustain too much damage. We are really lucky to be here and we are ready to start the stage tomorrow. The Dakar is a really tough race and it proves itself to be challenging every day. We won’t give up. We aren’t here just to take part. We’re here to race, to try and set good times, to win stages and to do well. That is what we enjoy doing.”
2020 Dakar Rally Stage 10 Results:
3rd No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +4min 26sec
6th No. 307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +6min 40sec
17th No. 300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +17min 46sec
55th No. 310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +1hr 17min 33sec
2020 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage 10:
2nd No. 300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +18min 10sec
6th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +1hr 2min 23sec
7th No. 307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +1hr 15min 39sec
14th No. 310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +4hr 34min 56sec