FES, MOROCCO – All three Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crews posted excellent stage times during the short, sharp prologue of the 2018 Rally of Morocco, with Nasser Al Attiyah (Qatar) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (France) taking the win on the day. The 10 km-long prologue, which took place on October 4th, 2018, saw Giniel de Villiers (RSA) and new co-driver Alex Winocq post the 4th-fastest time; with Dutch driver Bernhard ten Brinke and co-driver Xavier Panseri going 8th-fastest.
“We’re very pleased with our performance today,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall, after all three Toyota Hilux race cars completed the prologue. “Unfortunately, both Giniel and Bernhard lost some time due to a car that crashed ahead of them on the stage, but other than that, all our crews had clean runs.”
While all three Toyota Hilux race cars are nearly identical, the engine in Al Attiyah’s car is a new-spec version, which offers slight improvements in power at higher engine speeds. This may have contributed to his performance during the prologue, which the Qatari superstar won with a time 08:27, nine seconds faster than Martin Prokop (Ford), who went second-fastest.
Five Toyota Hilux race cars – all developed and built in South Africa – finished in the Top 10 of the Rally of Morocco Prologue. With that said, there is a long race ahead, and the first real challenge comes with Stage 1: A 194 km-long test that will take the crews from the city of Fes to Erfoud. The stage is split in two parts, with the first comprising 103 km.
After completing the prologue, the top crews were given the opportunity to select their road positions for the opening stage, with the pace-setter (Al Attiyah) getting to select last. The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA driver opted for 10th place on the road; De Villiers selected 8th and Ten Brinke will be the 7th car out. MINI’s Carlos Sainz will open the stage.
The 2018 Rally of Morocco finishes on October 9th, back in the city of Fes. In between lie 1,362 km of special stage racing, as well as 689 km of liaisons that link the stages – a stern test, in a desert where the dunes make both driving and navigation a challenge.
Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Suppliers and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Total, Toyota Financial Services and the Innovation Group. Also Hallspeed, Imperial Toyota, SKF, Spanjaard, OMP, NGK, Donaldson, Mastercraft, Edgecam, 3M, Bandit Signs, Shatterprufe, Supreme Springs, Smith’s Manufacturing, TRD, Peritus Forex, 4x4 Mega World, First National Battery, Duxbury Netgear and Plan-C Productions.