TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SA CONTINUES TO DOMINATE ON 2018 QATAR CROSS-COUNTRY RALLYApr 21, 2018
20 April 2018
• Third consecutive stage win for Al Attiyah/Baumel
• Toyota Hilux continues to dominate
DOHA, QATAR – Qatari driver Nasser Al Attiyah and French co-driver Mathieu Baumel cemented their position at the head of the field on Stage 3 of the 2018 Qatar Cross-Country Rally, which took place to the north of Doha on Friday, April 20. The defending FIA Cross-Country World Cup holders incurred a 15-minute time penalty for missing a waypoint on Stage 2, but fought back to retake the lead of the rally on Stage 3.
“The new navigation rules make it extremely tricky for us,” said Al Attiyah from the bivouac at the Losail International Race Circuit north of the Qatari capital, Doha, after completing the stage. “We made a small mistake yesterday but managed to not only make up the lost time on Stage, but also extend our lead in the overall standings.”
Al Attiyah/Baumel tackled the 338 km-long stage as the first car on the road, and Baumel certainly felt the pressure to find all the waypoints in the tricky terrain.
“We managed to find all the waypoints on Stage 3,” said the French co-driver from Losail. “But it certainly wasn’t easy, and we had to do quite a bit of hunting in the dunes.”
Despite this, the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux crew won the stage by 08:19 over their nearest competitors, in the form of Jakub Przygonski and Tom Colsoul in the X-Raid MINI. The Polish driver is still in second place in the overall standings, but thanks to Al Attiyah/Baumel’s penalties, the gap between the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crew and the MINI crew is down to 07:26:00.
“Even so, we are extremely happy with Nasser and Mathieu’s performance today,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall after the stage. “Nasser drove extremely well, and Mathieu’s navigation was spot on. Also, the Toyota Hilux never missed a beat, and we are looking forward to the final stages of the event.”
Back in Doha, Robert Howie’s injury has received more attention. On further inspection, new fractures have been identified in his third and eighth vertebrae, and he will need to remain immobilised for seven days. Plans are currently being made to airlift Howie to South Africa, for further treatment.
Stage 4 follows, and at 358 km is sure to offer a stern test to both the drivers and navigators. As in the past, the crews will start and finish near the Losail International Race Circuit, and one more long stage will complete the 2018 Qatar Cross-Country Rally. The action concludes on Sunday, 22 April, in the Qatari capital of Doha.
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 3:
1. Al Attiyah/Baumel (Toyota Hilux)
2. Przygonski/Colsoul (MINI) +07:26:00
3. Vasilyev/Zhiltsov (MINI) +25:47:00
4. Domzala/Marton (Toyota Hilux) +50:13:00
5. Seaidan/Lichtleuchter (Toyota Hilux) +01:05:39:00
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.
Follow the fortunes of Toyota Gazoo Racing SA on www.toyota.co.za