Toyota brings home Dakar gold
Silverware for Toyota in Saudi Arabia
Toyota brings home Dakar gold!
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing have triumphed at the 2022 Dakar Rally. The event, which ran from 1 January to 14 January 2022, was held in Saudi Arabia with a total of 12 stages, the race starting and finishing at Jeddah.
Driving for Toyota GAZOO Racing, Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-drive Mathieu Baumel won their second Dakar Rally. The pair dominated the event from the very beginning, winning the prologue on 1 January as well as the tough opening stage near the city of Ha’il. Stage 4 also saw the pair come home first, and from that stage on the team was able to race on their own terms, controlling from the front. They would eventually finish the final stage with a lead of 27 minutes 46 seconds.
Al-Attiyah/Baumel’s victory came with the new GR DKR Hilux T1+, an evolution of the team’s former specification Hilux, featuring bigger wheels and tyres; more suspension travel and an all-new engine. The new power plant was sourced from the Toyota Land Cruiser 300 GR Sport, and the 3.5 litre twin-turbo charged V6 proved extremely reliable from the start.
This engine’s standard power and torque outputs fall within the prescribed maximums as mandated by the FIA, and as such the team was able to utilise the engine in its production form, with the engine management control integrated with the car’s electrics. The team also developed the intercooler system for the engine in-house, using parts from the Toyota family, in order to meet the demands of the Dakar Rally. This meant that, while the engine was pushed to its limits, it remained reliable throughout the race.
The other TOYOTA GAZOO Racing pairs also did extremely well, with fifth place overall for South Africa’s Dakar stalwart, Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy, only 1 hour 41 minutes off the winning pace. They managed to win Stage 9 outright, and if it weren't for a broken oil pipe on Stage & that cost them at least an hour, a podium finish could have been areality.
The South African pair of Lategan and Cummings managed two stage wins in the 2022 Dakar Rally, and at 27 years old Lategan is one of the youngest ever stage winners in a Dakar. Unfortunately they had a number of wheel-related mechanicals that cost them over 8 hours in total. At one stage this forced them down to 55th position, but they managed to claw their way back to 31st overall, 11 hour 55 minutes off the overall winning time.
Shameer Variawa and Danie Stassen, also both of South Africa, managed a 15th place finish, fighting hard to accomplish this result after a rough start. Their best stage came after the Rest Day in Jeddah, as they posted the 7th-fastest time on Stage 7 of the 12-stage rally. This was followed by more Top 20 performances, allowing them to move into 14th place overall by Stage 8.
There can be no doubt that Dakar 2022 was a successful campaign for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. Adding a second overall victory brought the team unbridled joy, but it also gave Team Principal Glyn Hall a moment to reflect on the past:
“What an epic victory for Nasser and Mathieu, and the entire team. To come to Dakar and win with our new GR DKR Hilux T1+ first time out is amazing. I’d like to dedicate this win to the memory of Dr. Johan van Zyl, who was a visionary leader and consistent supporter of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Dakar project over many years. We are extremely proud of what we achieved here this year, and I know the Doc would have been too.”
In other Dakar news, a diesel-electric hybrid Hino competed in the Dakar Rally for the first time. The hybrid powertrain capable of producing more than 1 000 horsepower (794kW). The 9-litre turbocharged diesel engine contributed 588kW to the power output while the hybrid capacitor electric propulsion system added a further 206kW.
While the 2022 proved to be a tough learning curve with regards to racing a hybrid truck, the team did manage to complete the race, building on the proud Hino reliability record – at least one Hino truck has finished every one of the 30 Dakar Rallies staged since 1991.
Hino has also finished in the top 10 of the truck category 25 times over the years, including finishing 1, 2, 3 overall in 1997.