Jan 11, 2022

  • Historic TOYOTA GAZOO Racing podium lock-out on Stage 9
  • Stage victory for Giniel/Dennis
  • Henk/Brett second on stage after puncture
  • Controlled pace by Nasser/Mathieu as they extend overall lead

Three TOYOTA GAZOO Racing cars occupied the podium positions of the 9th stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally, which saw crews complete a looped stage starting and ending near the city of Wadi Ad Dawasir. It was a close-run thing, but in the end it was Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy who took the honours, just 9sec ahead of teammates Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings. At the same time, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel extended their lead in the overall standings to 39min 5sec, with three stages to go.

There are no easy stages on the Dakar Rally, but everything went right for South Africa’s Giniel and Dennis, when they tackled the 287km Stage 9. The pair drove a clean stage, with no punctures, and reaped the rewards when they posted the fastest time of 2hr 23min 8sec, moving them up into 5th place in the overall standings, 1hr 45min 1sec behind the lead.

Almost the same could be said for Henk and Brett, except for one puncture. The pair pushed hard in the early parts of the stage, and had built a small lead by the time the stage reached its mid-point. But a puncture in the latter part of Stage 9 saw the GR DKR Hilux T1+ crew lose time to the competition. Despite the setback, they pushed through the tricky dunes near the end of the stage, as well as the dust kicked up by fellow competitors, to record the 2nd-fastest time on the day, trailing Giniel and Dennis to the finish by just 9sec. The pair have moved up to 31st in the overall classification, and will be aiming for more stage wins before the end of the rally.

The third TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Hilux on Stage 9 was piloted by overall rally leaders Nasser and Mathieu. The Qatari driver and his Andorran co-driver had a scary stage the day before, due to a noisy rear diff that caused them to drive with caution. But no such problems manifested on Stage 9, and the pair drove at a controlled pace, posting the 3rd-fastest time on the day, just 1min 4sec behind Giniel and Dennis. Crucially, their strong result allowed them to extend their lead in the overall standings to 39min 5sec, with three stages to go.

Shameer Variawa and Danie Stassen continued their run of strong performances, going 11th-fastest on Stage 9, trailing the stage winners by 4min 38sec. The South African pairing also reported a puncture-free run, and while they remain in 14th place overall, some 3hr 25min 15sec behind the lead, they are closing in on the crews ahead of them, and are now just 26sec behind 13th place.

Just three stages remain in the 2022 Dakar Rally. Stage 10 will see the Dakar caravan move from the bivouac at Wadi Ad Dawasir to a new location near the city of Bisha. For the race crews, the stage consists of a timed section covering 375km, with liaisons totalling 384km joining the stage to the two bivouacs. The organisers have promised an eye-pleasing stage, but cautioned the competitors that, even though the stage will feature high speeds, navigation may still play a pivotal role.

The 2022 Dakar Rally will reach the city of Jeddah on January 14th, after 12 competitive stages that covered a large part of Saudi Arabia, including a visit to the capital city of Riyadh.


Glyn Hall, Team Principal:“What an epic day for the team! We’ve never achieved a 1-2-3 on a Dakar stage before, and we are ecstatic with today’s results. Giniel and Dennis drove a perfect stage to get the win, but Henk and Brett were right on their tails. Were it not for a puncture, Henk may well have recorded his second win of the event. But more than that, we are very pleased that Nasser and Mathieu were able to build on their lead, heading into the final stages of the rally.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah:“Today we had a really good run, without having to push, and finished third in the stage. Now, we have a really good lead and I’m confident with my Toyota after today, when it was clearly in very good shape. It’s also great to record a 1-2-3 for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, and even though we aren’t there yet, each day feels like a small victory, as we get closer to Jeddah.”

Giniel de Villiers:“It is really nice to win a stage, especially after yesterday’s tough stage. But the team worked all night to sort out the problems with our dampers, which had gotten steadily worse over the last few days. They really did an amazing job, and thanks to them the car was perfect today. We had a nice, clean run on the stage and we’re very happy to get another stage win for Toyota.”

Henk Lategan:“We had a very nice stage today, starting off quite well. On previous days we tended to be slightly ahead at the neutralisation, but then it seemed like the other guys started pushing. Today, we pushed a bit harder early on, and built up a lead by the mid-point. Unfortunately, a puncture slowed us down somewhat, allowing Carlos (Sainz) to come past. We followed him through the tricky dunes near the end, and then just stayed in his dust to the finish. This made it a bit hard to see the rocks on the route, but we’re happy to have made it through in a good stage time.”

Shameer Variawa:“Today was a good stage for us. We just kept it clean, and even though we had a lot of dust, we managed to overtake three or four cars. It was hair raising at times, but we’re here and we’re happy.”

Stage 9 Results:

1. De Villiers (ZAF) / Murphy (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 2hr 23min 8sec

2. Lategan (ZAF) / Cummings (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +9sec

3. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Baumel (AND) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1min 4sec

4. Ekstrom (SWE) / Bergkvist (SWE) Team Audi Sport +2min 7sec

5. Loeb (FRA) / Lurquin (BEL) Bahrain Raid Xtreme +2min 11sec

11. Variawa (ZAF) / Stassen (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +4min 38sec

Rankings after Stage 9:

1. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Baumel (AND) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 30hr 10min 4sec

2. Loeb (FRA) / Lurquin (BEL) Bahrain Raid Xtreme +39min 5sec

3. Al Rajhi (SAU) / Orr (GBR) Overdrive Toyota +58min 44sec

4. Terranova (ARG) / Carreras (ESP) Bahrain Raid Xtreme +1hr 36min 9sec

5. De Villiers (ZAF) / Murphy (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1hr 45min 1sec

14. Variawa (ZAF) / Stassen (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +3hr 25min 15sec

31. Lategan (ZAF) / Cummings (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +10hr 14min 34sec


Jan 10, 2022

  • Challenging day sees Nasser/Mathieu lose 7min, remains in lead
  • Henk/Brett fastest of the TGR crews
  • De Villiers/Murphy claw back positions after Stage 7 setback
  • Shameer/Danie continue their good form

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel continue to lead the 2022 Dakar Rally, though the pair lost 7min 1sec to their nearest challengers on the tricky eighth stage of the race. The 395km timed section between Al Dawadimi and Wadi Ad Dawasir saw the race leaders start the stage with a worrying noise in the rear differential of their GR DKR Hilux T1+. While a later investigation revealed that the part was in no danger of failing, the crew elected to play it safe by backing off in the opening 200km of the stage.

The Qatari driver and his Andorran co-driver surrendered nearly 9min to their rivals at the mid-point but pulled back two minutes over the closing parts of the stage. This sees them leading the rally by 37min 58sec after eight stages, with four stages remaining in the race.

Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings also found the going tough in Stage 8, complaining of a under-performing damper on the left-hand side of the Hilux. They also suffered a puncture early in the stage, but despite this, they posted the 5th-fastest time on the day. They trailed the stage winners home by 3min 20sec, and are now in 35th place in the overall standings, 10hr 15min 29sec behind Nasser and Mathieu.

Stage 8 also brought challenges for the battle-weary Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy. The South Africans also fell foul to the rocks early on, puncturing one of the tyres on their Hilux, before continuing through the dunes. They struggled with the dampers on their car, however, with Giniel fighting for control throughout the stage. This made it impossible to attack, and they lost 9min as a result. Even so, they’ve moved up into 7th position in the overall standings, 1hr 56 min 5sec behind the lead. More importantly, they are within 15min of the Top 5, and will be aiming to break into that bracket before the end of the race.

Shameer Variawa and Danie Stassen continued their good form on Stage 8. The pair have been steadily improving over the course of the race, after a run of bad luck put a damper on their opening week. Stage 8 saw them post the 18th-fastest time, some 20min 43sec behind the stage winners. But the pair had decided early on not to risk a solid finish by pushing too hard in the tricky stage. Their strategy paid off, as they are now 14th in the overall standings, just 11min outside the Top 10.

Four stages remain in the 2022 Dakar Rally. Stage 9 will see the crews complete a looped stage, which starts and ends at the bivouac near Wadi Ad Dawasir. A liaison of 93km will take the crews from the bivouac to the start of the 287km-long stage, with another liaison of 111km bringing them back to the bivouac. Competitors can expect less sand during Stage 9, but the mountainous terrain and tricky navigation will ensure a tough test even without many dunes.

The 2022 Dakar Rally is the 44th edition of the iconic event, and features twelve competitive stages, with the final stages visiting bivouacs at Wadi Ad Dawasir and Bisha, before the convoy reaches the coastal city of Jeddah on Friday, January 14th.


Glyn Hall, Team Principal:“Today was a real nail-biter for the team. We could see on the tracking that Nasser and Mathieu were nursing some sort of problem, but we weren’t sure what it was until they finished the stage. In the end, it was all good, but we had some worrying moments. Henk and Brett had a good stage, despite their challenges; as did Giniel and Dennis. And Shameer and Danie are simply hitting their stride, recording excellent finishes over the last few stages. We’re looking forward to the last four stages, though this race is definitely far from over.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah:“We had a problem right from the start today. We heard something wrong with the rear differential shortly after leaving the bivouac, but we had no choice but to start the stage with the noisy diff. We nursed the car through the first 200km, but pushed on a bit over the next 200km. We’re really lucky to have finished the stage, losing only 7min in the process.”

Shameer Variawa: “We had a good stage, but we definitely still had some more pace in reserve. But once we reached the decontrol mid-stage, we managed to gauge our performance against the crews around us, and since we’re really aiming to get into the Top 10, rather than posting exceptional stage times, we decided to back off just a bit, in order to ensure that we made it to the finish. When we finished the stage, we were delighted to find that we’d moved up to 14th in the overall standings, and if we manage to perform consistently over the remaining stages, a Top 10 position in certainly on the cards.”

Giniel de Villiers:“This was definitely the toughest stage of the rally so far, especially the first 200km. The dunes were really soft and not easy to cross, but the Hilux is really good in the dunes, so we had no problems there. However, we seem to be having some issues with the dampers, as it was almost impossible for me to keep the car on the road. We’ll have a look in the bivouac and see if we can find the cause, but even without the damper problems, this was by far the most difficult stage so far. We also had a puncture early on, but in the end, it was really the dampers that stopped us from attacking.”

Henk Lategan:“A really tough day, and probably the most difficult of the rally so far. We had a puncture early in the stage, while traversing a rocky section. After that it was straight into the dunes, which were really big and flowing. However, something didn’t feel quick right with the left-hand side of the car, and we backed off a bit. In the end, we managed to find all the waypoints and recorded the 5th-fastest time, so not a bad day for us.”

Stage 8 Results:

1. Ekstrom (SWE) / Bergkvist (SWE) Team Audi Sport 3hr 43min 21sec

2. Peterhansel (FRA) / Boulanger (FRA) Team Audi Sport +49sec

3. Loeb (FRA) / Lurquin (BEL) Bahrain Raid Xtreme +3min 8sec

4. Sainz (ESP) / Cruz (ESP) Team Audi Sport +3min 11sec

5. Lategan (ZAF) / Cummings (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +3min 20sec

9. De Villiers (ZAF) / Murphy (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +9min 0sec

11. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Baumel (AND) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +10min 9sec

18. Variawa (ZAF) / Stassen (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +20min 43sec

Rankings after Stage 8:

1. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Baumel (AND) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 27hr 45min 52sec

2. Loeb (FRA) / Lurquin (BEL) Bahrain Raid Xtreme +37min 58sec

3. Al Rajhi (SAU) / Orr (GBR) Overdrive Toyota +53min 13sec

4. Przygonski (POL) / Gottschalk (DEU) X-Raid Mini JCW Team +1hr 28min 6sec

5. Terranova (ARG) / Carreras (ESP) Bahrain Raid Xtreme +1hr 31min 39sec

7. De Villiers (ZAF) / Murphy (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1hr 46min 5sec

14. Variawa (ZAF) / Stassen (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +3hr 21min 41sec

35. Lategan (ZAF) / Cummings (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +10hr 15min 29sec


Jan 9, 2022

  • Nasser/Mathieu remain in overall lead of 2022 Dakar Rally
  • Disappointment for Giniel/Dennis as broken oil pipe foil podium chances
  • Exemplary sportsmanship by Henk/Brett as they assist Giniel/Dennis
  • Another solid stage for Shameer/Danie

Stage 7 of the 2022 Dakar Rally brought disappointment for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy. The pair were lying in 4th position overall mid-way through the rally, after a tumultuous opening week filled with drama. But a broken oil pipe put paid to their podium aspirations, just 130km into the 402km-long stage between Riyadh and Al Dawadimi. At the same time, teammates Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel maintained their position at the top of the overall standings, though their lead decreased to 44min 59sec when they lost 5min 26sec to the stage winners.

Nasser and Mathieu recorded a clean run through the tough stage, which was peppered with tricky navigational decisions. Even so, they were overly cautious in the opening sections, but matched the time of the stage winners through the second half of the timed section. They’ll start Stage 8 – which has been billed by the organisers as ‘the toughest of this year’s Dakar’ – as the second car on the road, giving them the opportunity to control their pace somewhat, rather than trying to attack while opening the road.

Had the oil pipe stayed in place on the new GR DKR Hilux T1+ of Giniel and Dennis, Nasser may well have had two teammates for company on Stage 8. Initially, Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings set a blistering pace, quickly racing into the lead of the stage. But their charge was halted when they spotted Giniel and Dennis, who had themselves been running at a highly competitive pace, which was clearly good enough to secure a podium position in the overall standings.

Unfortunately, Giniel and Dennis were forced to halt around the 130km mark, after their engine oil disappeared into the desert sands of Saudi Arabia. They set about repairing their stricken car, and were joined shortly after by Henk and Brett who came to the aid of their teammates, showing exemplary sportsmanship. The four-man team managed to repair the Hilux, and secured engine oil from a number of good Samaritan competitors, before driving to the end of the stage together.

This diversion cost Henk and Brett 44min 42sec on the stage, leaving them in 36th place overall, 10hr 22min 38sec behind Nasser and Mathieu. Since Giniel and Dennis were ahead of Henk on the road for Stage 7, the incident meant a time loss of 1hr 0min 44sec for them, plunging them from 4th in the overall standings to 9th place, 1hr 47min 14sec off the leaders, and well out of contention for a podium position.

Stage 7 brought another solid performance by Shameer Variawa and Danie Stassen, their only setbacks coming from navigational challenges along the long stage. They were forced to circle around and hunt for waypoints on two occasions, losing 10min in the process. Their total time loss for the day was 18min 36sec, and they remain in 17th place overall, trailing the leaders by 3hr 11min 7sec.

The 2022 Dakar Rally continues its march to Jeddah tomorrow, with a 395km-long special stage between Al Dawadimi and Wadi Ad Dawasir. Crews can expect a sea of dunes during the first half of the stage, before tricky navigation again comes into play during the latter parts. Liaisons totalling 435km will join the stage to the bivouacs, making Stage 8 one of the longest of the event.


Glyn Hall, Team Principal:“What a day at the Dakar! Stage 7 was the first one after the Rest Day, and it brought plenty of drama. But first the good news: We’re still leading the Dakar, thanks to Nasser and Mathieu, who didn’t put a foot wrong today. They lost a few minutes to the chasing pack, but are in a good position for the next stage. The big upset came with Giniel and Dennis, when an oil pipe blew on their car. In the end, it cost them the better part of an hour, even with the help of teammates Henk and Brett, who had stopped to assist. While we’re bitterly disappointed with this, especially given the fact that Giniel was looking good for a podium position, we are proud of the camaraderie and fighting spirit of our crews. Shameer and Danie also soldiered on, recording a solid performacer.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah:“Yes, it was a really difficult stage, and I think we were a bit sleepy during the first 100km. We lost 5min to Seb (Loeb) early on, but after the mid-point of the race, we matched his pace to the finish. Overall, I’m quite happy after seven stages, and since Seb will open the road tomorrow, we should be in a good position to control the race.”

Shameer Variawa:“The stage was very tricky in terms of navigation. There were lots of rocks, but also some open sections, where we could push. But the tough navigation really tested the co-drivers. Just 10km into the stage, we took a wrong fork and lost about 5min. The same thing happened just after the decontrol section, so in total we lost about 10min just hunting for tracks.”

Giniel de Villiers:“I don’t know what to do to get our luck to change. It really is unbelievable. We started off nicely, but at the 130km mark the main oil pipe came off, and all the engine oil pumped out in about 10sec. I killed the engine immediately, and Dennis and I started working on fixing the problem. A big thanks to teammates Henk and Brett who stopped to help us, and also to my co-driver Dennis, who did an amazing job. He is very gifted with mechanical things, but it still took a long time to get the frayed pipe back onto the fitting. Once the job was done we had to get oil, as we had only about 1.5 litres of the 12 litres that the engine needs on board with us. Henk and Brett gave us what they had, and then Chris Visser stopped and helped us with about four litres. One of the Overdrive Toyota guys also helped, but that still left us way short. We decided to continue, but the oil pressure dropped in right-hand turns, and we had to take it really easy. It was a challenging stage, and I have to say it is also disappointing. We were challenging for a podium position and now we’re barely in the Top 10.”

Henk Lategan:“While we’re still here to finish the race, we’re not fighting for a position anymore. So whatever we can do to help the rest of our team, we’ll do. Our day started with some good pace, and my aim was to achieve a good road position for tomorrow’s stage. But then we saw Giniel next to the track with a problem, so we stopped to help him. It was quite a big job, and we gave them all of our spare oil. Once they got going again, we drove together through the stage to make sure they reached the end. It was a team game today, but that’s part of racing.”

Stage 7 Results:

1. Loeb (FRA) / Lurquin (BEL) Bahrain Raid Xtreme 3hr 9min 32sec

2. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Baumel (AND) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +5min 26sec

3. Sainz (ESP) / Cruz (ESP) Team Audi Sport +7min 43sec

4. Peterhansel (FRA) / Boulanger (FRA) Team Audi Sport +9min 40sec

5. Al Raji (SAU) / Orr (GBR) Overdrive Toyota +10min 3sec

12. Variawa (ZAF) / Stassen (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +18min 36sec

38. Lategan (ZAF) / Cummings (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +44min 42sec

43. De Villiers (ZAF) / Murphy (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1hr 0min 44sec

Rankings after Stage 7:

1. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Baumel (AND) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 23hr 52min 22sec

2. Loeb (FRA) / Lurquin (BEL) Bahrain Raid Xtreme +44min 59sec

3. Al Rajhi (SAU) / Orr (GBR) Overdrive Toyota +53min 31sec

4. Alvarez (ARG) / Monleon (ESP) Overdrive Toyota +1hr 15min 9sec

5. Przygonski (POL) / Gottschalk (DEU) X-Raid Mini JCW Team +1hr 30min 4sec

9. De Villiers (ZAF) / Murphy (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1hr 47min 14sec

17. Variawa (ZAF) / Stassen (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +3hr 11min 7sec

36. Lategan (ZAF) / Cummings (ZAF) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +10hr 22min 18sec