The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory.
Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.
The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43-years-old on January 17, received the best birthday present ever, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation.
The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish. The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. Hall said: “This victory was long overdue.”
The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.
Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Dakar Rally.
For Toyota Gazoo Racing SA, the win in Peru comes as the cherry on top of an amazing Dakar record. Hall said: “This is the one spot we needed. And it feels amazing to finally win.”