Second consecutive stage victory for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing as Nasser cements his lead in Morocco
A second consecutive stage win saw TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel take charge of the 2021 Rally of Morocco. Together with their win in the prologue, the Toyota Hilux crew has completed a clean sweep of stages so far.
The Toyota crew had the task of opening the stage, after winning Stage 1 the previous day. This made navigation tricky, especially once they reached the fearsome dunes near Merzouga. Despite this challenge, Nasser and Mathieu showed their class, winning Stage 2 by 6min 1sec from the fellow Toyota Hilux crew of Yazeed Al Rajhi and Michael Orr, who are also in second position in the overall standings.
A single puncture was the only mark on an otherwise perfect stage for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing crew, but Nasser and Mathieu managed to change the wheel in less than a minute, before setting off on the remainder of the stage.
Stage two comprised a timed section of 334 km, together with liaisons of 273km, and it was run over a mix of hard packed dirt, dunes and rocky traverses. As with all stages on the 2021 edition of the Rally of Morocco, the stage started and finished near the bivouac at Zagora.
After two stages, Nasser and Mathieu have a lead of 10min 18sec in the overall standings, with Al Rajhi in second place. Third place belongs to Lucio Alvarez, with Ronan Chabot in fourth. The first non-Toyota crew is in fifth place, 40min 09sec behind.
Stage 3 is set for Monday, 11 October, and will feature a timed section of 341km. A 75km liaison will get the crews from the bivouac to the start, with another 187km liaison to bring them back to Zagora after the stage. The terrain is expected to be similar to Stage 2, and Nasser and Mathieu will again be the first car on the road. With a significant lead, however, the crew will be able to control the pace somewhat.
STAGE 2 RESULTS:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel Toyota Hilux (TGR) 03hr 08min 26sec
2. Yazeed Al Rajhi/Michael Orr Toyota Hilux (Overdrive) +6min 01sec
3. Jakub Przygonski/Timo Gottschalk MINI +6min 49sec
4. Lucio Alvarez/Armand Monleon Toyota Hilux (Overdrive) +10min 16sec
5. Matthieu Serradori/Loic Minaudier SRT Racing +15min 0sec
STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 2:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel Toyota Hilux (TGR) 6hr 51min 48sec
2. Yazeed Al Rajhi/Michael Orr Toyota Hilux (Overdrive) +10min 18sec
3. Lucio Alvarez/Armand Monleon Toyota Hilux (Overdrive) +32min 32sec
4. Ronan Chabot/Gilles Pillot Toyota Hilux (Overdrive) +36min 59sec
5. Mattias Ekstrom/Emil Bergkvist MINI +40min 09sec
Glyn Hall, Team Principal:
“Winning today’s stage despite being first on the road, shows the class and determination of Nasser and Mathieu. Furthermore, they had no technical problems with the car, and suffered only a single puncture on the stage. Really good word by the crew.”
“It was a good stage for us, but the fight in the last 120km was really quite tight. We pushed hard, and Mathieu did a good job, especially over the closing kilometres. We only had one puncture, but we managed to change the wheel in less than a minute.”
“Opening today’s stage was really not an easy task. In the first kilometres, it was okay as the piste was quite clear, but once we reached the soft Merzouga dunes, things became tricky. But in the end, we had a very good day.”