Defending champions Toyota Gazoo Racing are ready to tackle the 2020 Dakar Rally.
Defending champions Toyota Gazoo Racing are ready to tackle the 2020 Dakar Rally. For the first time, the iconic race will be held in the sands of Saudi Arabia, moving from South America where it has been held for the past few years.
The team will be utilising the latest version of the race-winning Toyota Hilux, when the race gets under way in the Saudi city of Jeddah, on January 5th, 2020. Having won the 2019 edition of the iconic race, the team will be under pressure to perform right from the start, once the flag drops for Stage 1.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will be fielding a four-car team in the upcoming Dakar Rally, led by defending champions Nasser Al Attiyah (Qatar) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (France). The pair not only achieved victory during Dakar 2019, but also won each race they entered, with the exception of the Rally of Morocco. This makes them the odds-on favourites to take victory in Saudi Arabia, though they’re sure to be pushed hard by teammates Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Alex Haro.
South African De Villiers and Spaniard Haro won the 2019 Rally of Morocco and have spent many hours testing the new Hilux in the South African cross country championship so will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with.
The third Toyota Hilux will be driven by Bernhard ten Brinke (Netherlands), who has signed up the services of his former co-driver, Belgium’s Tom Colsoul. Fernando Alonso and Marc Coma, both from Spain, will be taking charge of the final South African-built and developed Toyota Hilux. The pair have spent months preparing for the race, and while Alonso has made it clear that he still has a lot to learn, he has shown exceptional pace in the car, and will be aiming for a steady run, rather than all-out victory.
The race will start in the Saudi’s second city, Jeddah, which is located on the Red Sea, in the western part of the country. Stage 1 is scheduled to start on January 5th, after which the race winds its way northwards to the city of Neom, before heading inland along a southerly course that takes the Dakar to Saudi’s Empty Quarter for the second week of the race.
Dakar 2020 will draw to a close in Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh, on January 17th, 2020. The race will consist of 12 stages plus one rest day, and it will cover a variety of terrain types, including mountains, riverbeds and many dunes
The 2020 race will be the 42nd edition of the Dakar Rally, and over the years the race has visited 30 countries – three in Europe, five in South America and 21 in Africa, with Saudi Arabia now added to the list. It is the second-largest motorsport event in the world, eclipsed only by F1.