Disappointment for Henk/Brett, as Nasser/Mathieu hold steady
  • Significant time loss for Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings on Stage 9
  • Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel hold steady at head of standings
  • Clean stage for Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy

Stage 9 of the 2023 Dakar Rally brought solid results for Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel; as well as Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy. But for Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings, it was a stage to forget, despite the exemplary sportsmanship and camaraderie shown by Toyota Hilux T1+ privateers, Yazeed Al Rajhi and co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz. By the time the dust had settled over Stage 9, Nasser and Mathieu had retained their lead; Giniel and Dennis had completed a clean stage; and Henk and Brett had relinquished two spots in the overall standings.

For Henk and Brett, second after eight stages of this year’s race, the day went wrong early in the ninth stage, between the Saudi capital of Riyadh and the southern town of Haradh. The pair started the stage as the 4th car into the stage, but just 18km in, they suffered a hard landing after crossing a dune. The car was still carrying a heavy fuel load, which may have been a contributing factor in the left rear damper breaking. This would normally require the crew to wait for support from the chasing truck, but for the GR DKR Hilux T1+ crew, relief came from an unexpected source.

Yazeed Al Rajhi and Dirk von Zitzewitz had run high up the order early in the race but fell foul to a damaged wheel hub in Stage 6, effectively removing them from the race for the podium. The privateers stopped to assist the stricken TGR crew, stripping the damper out of their own car, so that the factory team could continue. The process cost Henk and Brett nearly 50min, but they were able to get back up to full race pace, completing the stage in 63rd place. This dropped them down from second place after the first eight stages, to fourth place in the general ranking. They are now 1hr 46min 23sec behind Nasser and Mathieu, and only 3min behind the competitor ahead of him in third place.

For Giniel and Dennis, Stage 9 brought a clean run at last. The pair had been plagued by punctures early in multiple stages, forcing them into ‘survival mode’, costing significant time loss. The sandy terrain of Stage 9, however, seems to have worked in their favour, as the TGR crew went 7th-fastest on the stage, losing 8min 55sec to the stage winners on the day. This means that they retain their 5th place in the overall standings, with five tough stages in the Empty Quarter to come.

Race leaders Nasser and Mathieu drove another steady stage, finding a good rhythm and measured pace, despite the many water crossings that marked Stage 9. The TGR crew were meant to start the stage as the second car on the road, but the competitor ahead of them missed their start time, forcing Nasser and Mathieu to open the road. They did a perfect job of this, and were just 3sec slower over the 359km-long stage than Giniel and Dennis, maintaining a comfortable 1hr 21min 57sec lead to second place in the overall ranking.

With Henk and Brett moving down the order to fourth place, Brazil’s Lucas Moraes, driving a privately entered Toyota Hilux T1+ together with co-driver Timo Gottschalk, have moved up into second place in the overall standings. The Dakar rookie driver and his experienced navigator are having a dream rally so far, and they’ll be hoping for similar results as the event shifts into the sands of the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia.

Stage 10 is the first of a series of short, sharp stages that mark the second week of the race. This one starts in the town of Haradh, with a long liaison of 467km. This will be followed by a stage of 114km, and a final liaison of 42km, bringing the drivers and co-drivers to the bivouac at Shaybah, where the support crews will remain encamped for three days, while the competitors complete the Empty Quarter Marathon Stages. The race will conclude in the city of Dammam on January 15th after fourteen Stages.

QUOTES:

Glyn Hall, TGR Dakar Team Principal: “It was a very disappointing day for Henk and Brett, losing a lot of time with a broken damper. But we are very grateful to Yazeed and Dirk, who stopped to give the TGR crew a damper from their own car – truly amazing sportsmanship. Nasser and Mathieu had a good day, maintaining their lead at the head of the field, while Giniel and Dennis finally completed a stage without a single puncture. Overall, we’re still in a strong position, despite Henk and Brett losing so much time.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “I’m quite happy to finish this stage, as it was not an easy one. We didn’t push at all today, aiming instead just to bring the car home without any problem. We had a lot of water crossings to deal with, which wasn’t straight-forward, but here we are at the finish, and I’m quite happy.”

Giniel de Villiers: “Overall, it was a reasonably good stage for us, as we didn’t have to get out of the car. We struggled a little bit to find the one waypoint, but nothing major, so we’re happy with the day.”

Henk Lategan: “It was a bad stage for us today. Not far from the start, we went over a steep dune with a step-down. At the bottom of the dune, one of our dampers broke, and we knew we were in big trouble. We might have lost hours, were it not for Yazeed Al Rajhi and Dirk von Zitzewitz, who stopped with us. They very graciously stripped the damper out of their own car, and helped us install it in ours. We still lost a lot of time, but Yazeed and Dirk were truly amazing, and we are very grateful to both of them. At least we are still in the race, still in the Top 5, and ready to fight on.”

DAKAR 2023: Stage 9 Results

POS.

CREW

TEAM

TIME

VARIATION

1

201

(FRA) SEBASTIEN LOEB

(BEL) FABIAN LURQUIN

BAHRAIN RAID XTREME

03H 07' 24''

 

2

213

(LTU) VAIDOTAS ZALA

(PRT) PAULO FIUZA

TELTONIKA RACING.

03H 08' 21''

+ 00H 00' 57''

3

206

(FRA) GUERLAIN CHICHERIT

(FRA) ALEX WINOCQ

GCK MOTORSPORT

03H 09' 32''

+ 00H 02' 08''

4

211

(SWE) MATTIAS EKSTROM

(SWE) EMIL BERGKVIST

TEAM AUDI SPORT

03H 12' 35''

+ 00H 05' 11''

5

231

(FRA) ROMAIN DUMAS

(FRA) MAX DELFINO

REBELLION RACING

03H 15' 02''

+ 00H 07' 38''

6

203

(POL) JAKUB PRZYGONSKI

(ESP) ARMAND MONLEON

X-RAID MINI JCW TEAM

03H 15' 47''

+ 00H 08' 23''

7

205

(ZAF) GINIEL DE VILLIERS

(ZAF) DENNIS MURPHY

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

GR DKR HILUX T1+

03H 16' 19''

+ 00H 08' 55''

8

200

(QAT) NASSER AL-ATTIYAH

(FRA) MATHIEU BAUMEL

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

GR DKR HILUX T1+

03H 16' 22''

+ 00H 08' 58''

9

212

(ARG) SEBASTIAN HALPERN

(ARG) BERNARDO GRAUE

X-RAID MINI JCW TEAM

03H 17' 32''

+ 00H 10' 08''

10

230

(BRA) LUCAS MORAES

(DEU) TIMO GOTTSCHALK

OVERDRIVE RACING

03H 17' 57''

+ 00H 10' 33''

63

217

(ZAF) HENK LATEGAN

(ZAF) BRETT CUMMINGS

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

GR DKR HILUX T1+

03H 58' 59''

+ 00H 51' 35''

DAKAR 2023: Standings after Stage 9

POS.

CREW

TEAM

TIME

VARIATION

1

200

(QAT) NASSER AL-ATTIYAH

(FRA) MATHIEU BAUMEL

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

GR DKR Hilux T1+

34H 19' 20''

 

2

230

(BRA) LUCAS MORAES

(DEU) TIMO GOTTSCHALK

OVERDRIVE RACING

35H 41' 17''

+ 01H 21' 57''

3

201

(FRA) SEBASTIEN LOEB

(BEL) FABIAN LURQUIN

BAHRAIN RAID XTREME

36H 02' 28''

+ 01H 43' 08''

4

217

(ZAF) HENK LATEGAN

(ZAF) BRETT CUMMINGS

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

GR DKR Hilux T1+

36H 05' 43''

+ 01H 46' 23''

5

205

(ZAF) GINIEL DE VILLIERS

(ZAF) DENNIS MURPHY

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

GR DKR Hilux T1+

36H 23' 37''

+ 02H 04' 17''

6

231

(FRA) ROMAIN DUMAS

(FRA) MAX DELFINO

REBELLION RACING

36H 45' 11''

+ 02H 25' 51''

7

210

(CZE) MARTIN PROKOP

(CZE) VIKTOR CHYTKA

ORLEN BENZINA TEAM

37H 04' 56''

+ 02H 45' 36''

8

216

(ZAF) BRIAN BARAGWANATH

(ZAF) LEONARD CREMER

CENTURY RACING FACTORY TEAM

37H 07' 26''

+ 02H 48' 06''

9

224

(CHN) WEI HAN

(CHN) MA LI

HANWEI MOTORSPORT TEAM

37H 51' 35''

+ 03H 32' 15''

10

220

(ARG) JUAN CRUZ YACOPINI

(ESP) DANIEL OLIVERAS CARRERAS

OVERDRIVE RACING

38H 12' 12''

+ 03H 52' 52''

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with its partners Red Bull, Kinto, Eurol and the Innovation Group. The team is also supported by Hallspeed, SKF, Spanjaard, Edgecam, Supreme Springs, Shatterprufe, Smith’s Manufacturing, Oakley, Lumotech, OMP, MSA, SACCS and the FIA. Thanks also to Ingco, Jonsson Workwear and USN for their support.