Toyota Gazoo Racing Geared Up For The Second Week Of Dakar 2024

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Toyota Gazoo Racing Geared Up For The Second Week Of Dakar 2024

All five TOYOTA GAZOO Racing teams successfully conquered one of the most challenging stages in Dakar Rally history. Stage 6, known as the 48-Hour Chrono in the 2024 race edition, spanned two days, with the race crews spending the night at one of seven bivouacs based on their stage position. The leading GR IMT Hilux EVO T1U team, consisting of Lucas Moraes and Arand Monleon, secured the 4th-fastest time in the 547 km timed section.

This stage started and ended near Shubaytah, on the outskirts of Saudi Arabia's Empty Quarter. Afterwards, the race crews were flown to the Riyadh bivouac while the cars were transported to the exact location. Lucas and Armand's outstanding performance propelled them to 4th place in the overall standings, trailing the leaders by 1 hour and 4 minutes.

Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy also had a solid performance in the GR IMT Hilux EVO, finishing 8th, just 37 minutes and 4 seconds behind the winners. They've climbed to 6th place overall, staying competitive with the front-runners.

Seth Quintero aimed to win the 48-Hour Chrono but settled for the 12th-fastest time, 49 minutes and 5 seconds behind the winners. Although not in contention for the overall ranking, Seth and Dennis are determined to chase stage victories in the upcoming week.

Teammates Guy Botterill and Brett Cummings finished the 48-Hour Chrono just 1 minute and 28 seconds behind Seth and Dennis, showcasing their potential despite limited experience in dunes. The #243 TGR team secured the 13th-fastest time and moved to 8th place in the overall standings, concluding a successful first week in Saudi Arabia.

Rookie driver Saood Variawa and co-driver Francois Cazalet faced challenges, including a gear selection issue and motion sickness. Despite these setbacks, they managed to finish the stage and continue to learn. Saood, at just 18 years old, is one of the youngest work drivers in Dakar history, focusing on gaining experience during his first Dakar Rally.

Stage 6 marked the rally's arrival in Riyadh, where a Rest Day occurred on Saturday, January 13. While the race crews enjoy a brief break, technicians will be busy fully servicing and rebuilding the cars for the second week of the rally.

As Rest Day signifies the midpoint of the rally, the teams will reflect on their performance during the opening week, which includes a stage victory for Lucas and Armand. Despite achievements, the week was marred by punctures, a minor rollover for Lucas/Armand, and engine damage for Seth/Dennis, affecting their overall chances of victory. Nevertheless, Seth and Dennis will aim to secure as many World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) points as possible in the remaining stages.

The Dakar Rally will resume on Sunday, January 14, with Stage 7, leading from Riyadh to Al Duwadimi. The route spans 873 km, with a timed section of 483 km. The race will proceed to Ha'il and conclude in Alula, where it initially began on January 6. The final two stages will occur near the coastal city of Yanbu and will end on Friday, January 19.


Shameer Variawa, SVR Team Principal, expressed satisfaction with the team's results in the challenging 48-hour Chrono stage, emphasizing the strict test for crews and cars. The focus now shifts to preparing the cars for the equally demanding second week of the rally.

Lucas Moraes expressed delight with their performance, noting the significant jump in standings and their first-stage win. He looks forward to the upcoming week.

Giniel de Villiers described the stage as very challenging, highlighting their fuel management efforts and their improvement in the overall rankings. He welcomed the upcoming Rest Day to prepare for the challenging second week.

Seth Quintero appreciated the concept of the Chrono stage, even though he admitted not being a fan of extensive dunes. He emphasized their determination to aim for top-three finishes daily in the second week.

Guy Botterill recounted the demanding nature of the 48 Hour Stage, particularly the dunes. He praised his co-driver, Brett Cummings, for navigating them effectively and expressed satisfaction with their top-10 position in the first half of the rally.

Saood Variawa described the Chrono Stage as incredibly tough, mentioning his struggles with motion sickness. He expressed determination to continue the race."

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