Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel arrive at the 2018 Dakar Rally with a clear target – win the race to hand Toyota their first victory at the famous rally. To give themselves the greatest chance of success the Qatari driver and the team have been working tirelessly throughout the year to ensure they arrive in South America in top form.
Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver Baumel have been in imperious form all year as they won Cross-Country Rally World Cup events in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Spain, Hungry, Poland and Morocco. These victories handed Al-Attiyah and Baumel a third consecutive FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup title.
“My target is the same as it always is before the Dakar, I’m going there to win the race.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah
While winning rallies all over the world Al-Attiyah has been working alongside the mechanics and engineers of Belgium’s Overdrive and Toyota Gazoo Racing in South Africa to make improvements to the vehicle they will bring to the next Dakar. The Toyota Hilux that comes to Lima to take on motorsport’s toughest test of endurance has been completely revamped over the past 12 months.
Special attention has been put into the new chassis concept which took advantage of the new regulations allowing bigger suspension travel for the all-wheel drive vehicles. The other area to watch out for is the new location of the engine which allows better weight distribution between the four wheels. Soon we’ll see if enough has been done to ensure the all-new Hilux can compete with best of the best at the Dakar.
The 40th anniversary edition of the Dakar returns to Peru which means that there’ll be plenty of sand on the menu for the offroad racers. The fact that the first five days of competition take place on the dunes could end up being a massive advantage to Al-Attiyah as he is considered the fastest driver on sand in the race.
“Giving Toyota their first Dakar win would be right up there with the best achievements of my career.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah
At the wheel Al-Attiyah goes into the New Year determined to score the third Dakar title of his illustrious rallying career. We’ll be with him every step of the way as he sets out to make history.
The 40th edition of the Dakar Rally takes place over 15 days in January 2018.
Source: Red Bull.com