Did we mention that Toyota is celebrating its first win in the gruelling Dakar Rally.

A HiLux piloted by Nasser Al Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel cruised to victory with a 46-minute lead in the cars division of the 3000km marathon held this year in Peru with its treacherous sand dunes.

In the Bikes division, Aussie Toby Price took out his second Dakar despite a fractured wrist.
Competing under the Toyota GAZOO Racing SA banner, they avoided taking any risks on the short final stage of one of the toughest Dakars of the past 10 years.

A day earlier, Al Attiyah set the pace, winning his third stage and edging closer to victory on a day that caused major problems for three of his closest rivals.

He now has three Dakar titles to his name. And, not only was it Toyota’s first win, but it was also the first time a petrol-powered vehicle has tasted success in the South American era.

Toyota GAZOO Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to South African teammate Giniel de Villiers during stage two.

Al Attiyah retook the lead on stage three, a position he did not relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South American Dakar.

De Villers finished ninth overall and a third Toyota HiLux rounded out the top 10.

“We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team,” Al Attiyah said.

“Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

The victory means that Toyota GAZOO Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races: 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Dakar Rally.

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Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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