TOYOTA GAZOO Racing set for Morocco showdown as W2RC resumes
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel will be taking on the 2022 Rally of Morocco, as part of the 2022 World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC). The race will take place on October 2-6, and the team will be fielding their Dakar-winning GR DKR Hilux T1+, which has seen constant refinement over the course of the season. The aim for this race will be to leapfrog the current W2RC leader, who is one point ahead after the two opening rounds. In the Manufacturers’ standings, Toyota hold a commanding lead of 33 points.
The inaugural W2RC season started with the Dakar Rally in January, where Nasser and Mathieu recorded maximum points thanks to their win. Next up was the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, where the team failed to finish the opening stage of the rally. Despite this setback, Nasser and Mathieu recorded stage wins on all four remaining stages, scoring as many points as possible in the process, leaving them just one point behind the lead.
Rally Kazakhstan was next on the calendar, but was cancelled. The Andalusia Rally was re-scheduled and will now take place directly after the Rally of Morocco, and as such will serve as the season-closer for the first ever W2RC season.
The Rally of Morocco is traditionally a very tough race, with terrain that resembles that of the Dakar Rally in places. As such, it is one of the most popular pre-Dakar rally events, with most of the key players in the rally-raid world using the event as a testing opportunity.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has recorded five consecutive victories here, with Nasser and Mathieu responsible for four of those, including the most recent win (2021). The race was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and prior to that, TGR’s Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Alex Haro recorded a win for the team. This was Giniel’s fourth win in Morocco; while Nasser’s tally to date is six victories. Toyota’s five victories serves to underline its dominance in this race, and Nasser and Mathieu will be hoping that Toyota’s solid results here continue as they chase down the W2RC lead.
The 2022 Rally of Morocco is scheduled to start with a prologue on the afternoon of October 1, 2022. This will be followed by five competitive stages, starting in the coastal city of Agadir, before heading South-West towards Tan-Tan. The next bivouac will be at Laayoune, before the route returns to Agadir via Tan-Tan. The total distance of the event will be 2,316 km, of which 1,575 km will be Special Stages. The rally will draw to a close in Agadir on October 6, 2022.
Glyn Hall, Team Principal:
“The Rally of Morocco has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for us. With that said, we have to respect the race, which can be extremely tough in terms of navigation and terrain. We’re confident that our GR DKR Hilux T1+ is up to the task, and if Nasser and Mathieu’s previous results here are anything to go by, we have every reason to hope for a good result.”
“I have many happy memories from the Rally of Morocco, and I’ll be hoping to add to those during the upcoming race. I’m looking forward to racing in some new areas, and while I’m sure that Mathieu is up to the task of navigating us safely and quickly through the stages, I’m also sure that it will take a lot of concentration and skill to go fast in the mixed terrain we’re expecting. The car is very good, and we’ve had excellent results all year. I hope to add to those results with a win in Morocco.”
“Morocco often brings challenges for the co-drivers, as navigation can be very tricky. This year, we’ll be going to some areas that haven’t seen much use in the past, so it will be quite new in terms of both the terrain and the navigation. But we are very comfortable in the GR DKR Hilux T1+ by now, and we’ll be looking to record a very good result.”
W2RC Standings after Round 2: (drivers)
1. S. Loeb (FRA) Bahrain Raid Xtreme 112
2. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 111
3. Y. Al Rajhi (SAU) Overdrive Racing 70
4. J. Przygonski (POL) X-Raid Mini JCW Team 58
5. F. Contardo (CHL) Can-Am 40
W2RC Standings after Round 2: (manufacturers)
1. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 103
2. X-Raid MINI JCW Team 70
3. Bahrain Raid Xtreme 65
4. OT3 by Overdrive 63
5. PH Sport 29