ERFOUD, MOROCCO – Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Nasser Al Attiyah (Qatar) and navigator Mathieu Baumel (France) clinched their second consecutive victory on the Rally of Morocco this week. This victory handed the Toyota Hilux crew their second consecutive FIA Cross Country World Cup, moving Al Attiyah’s overall tally up to four world cups, of which two were behind the wheel of a South African Toyota Hilux.
“I’m extremely happy with this win, and also with winning the world cup again,” said Al Attiyah from the final bivouac in the Moroccon town of Erfoud, after winning the race. “It was a really tough event, especially in the beginning, when Sebastien Loeb (Peugeot) pushed hard to open an early lead.”
Al Attiyah/Baumel fought back and mid-way through the six-day event, the Toyota crew had gained the upper hand. They never relinquished their lead, building up to a winning margin of 07:55 by the end of the rain-affected race.
“The Toyota Hilux ran faultlessly over the entire race, and we are looking forward to taking it to Dakar 2018,” continued Al Attiyah. “Our confidence is high after the Moroccan event, and even though we had to push hard to win here, we know that the car is more than capable.”
The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux was prepared and managed by Belgian outfit Overdrive Racing in Morocco.
At the same time, the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team has been working hard on the development of the latest version of the race-proven Toyota Hilux. Dakar veteran Giniel de Villiers put the new car through its paces during a week-long test session in the Kalahari Dessert, north of Upington.
The latest version features a new mid-engine layout, as well as all-new suspension geometry that makes the most of the rule changes for Dakar 2018. Slightly more wheel travel is now allowed, and the mid-mounted engine makes for significantly sharper handling. The engine and gearbox, however, remains unchanged.
“As with any new car, we have a lot of fine tuning to do,” said De Villiers from the test session earlier this week. “But we are making good progress, and have every reason to believe that the new Toyota Hilux will be even better than the current car.”
RALLY OF MOROCCO 2017 OVERALL RESULTS:
FIA WORLD CUP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 10 of 11:
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