The leading TOYOTA GAZOO Racing crew of Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel put on an impressive display of never-give-up spirit and skill to win the penultimate Stage 11 of Dakar 2021, the team’s sixth stage victory of the event. Despite suffering two punctures midway through the 464-kilometre stage from Al Ula to the coastal city of Yanbu, the pair overturned their three minute deficit to an almost two minute advantage on the overall leader. Nasser and Mathieu heads into the final stage just over fifteen minutes behind the lead.

Another two punctures held Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro back on Stage 11, but the pair fought back despite struggling with the dust of the cars ahead of them to finish the stage in seventh. They remain in eighth place overall, but will aim to improve on this over the final 200-kilometre stage to Jeddah.

Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy had three more punctures on the day’s stage. Despite the challenge, they continued to attack and finished in 18th place. They continued their march up the leader board and are now 21st in the overall standings.

Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “Eleven stages in, with one more day to go, I think the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Dakar Team and the Toyota Hilux have performed fantastically so far. We’ve had our challenges with the punctures, but we had another stage win today with Nasser and Mathieu. And again today, two Hilux in the Top 4 of the stage. Even better, we’ve had no mechanical issues over more than 4,000 kilometres of highly competitive racing. We’ve still got one stage to go, but I think there’s nothing more we can do. We’ve not given up and we’ll push ourselves to the limit again tomorrow, no question.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah (No. 301): “I’m quite happy with us finishing Stage 11 of Dakar by winning our sixth stage*. On the one hand I’m a little disappointed because it has been my dream to win the race here in Saudi Arabia. Last year we finished second, and it looks like we’ll be second again this year. But there’s still one day left, and you never know what happens. With that said, I do hope all the crews reach the end of the race safely.”

Giniel de Villiers (No. 304): “We started the stage with two punctures this morning and lost a lot of time in the rocks that peppered the first 100 kilometres of the stage. The latter parts of the stage saw us pick up some pace, although we ran into the dust of Jakub Przygonski ahead of us. We hit a rock in the dunes because we couldn’t see, which bent the steering of the car a bit. But luckily the Hilux is tough, and we managed to continue to the end.”

Shameer Variawa (No. 330): “It was a long, tough day, even though we expected it to be a little easier. But it turned out to be very, very difficult. We suffered three punctures. Once you get punctures, you end up in the dust, and that’s your stage done. But I’m really enjoying the race, and I can’t believe we’re on the second-last day. It has been challenging and it has been awesome, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

* Including the Prologue

2021 Dakar Rally Stage 11 Results:
1st No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, 4hr 34min 24sec
7th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +13min 30se
18th No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +24min 30sec

2021 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage 11:
2nd No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +15min 05sec
9th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +3hr 55min 02sec
21st No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +8hr 26min 35sec


A solid performance on Stage 10, which brought the 2021 Dakar Rally from Neom into the canyons of the Al Ula, saw TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel finish second behind the Toyota Hilux of privateer, Yazeed Al Rajhi. Nasser and Mathieu had a clean run and gained 49sec over the rally leader.

The dust of slower competitors held Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro up in the early parts of the 342-kilometre stage. The South African Dakar veteran was sixth fastest on the stage and moved up to eighth in the overall standings.

It was another good stage for Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy where they placed 14th on Stage 10. The pair had to overtake a number of slower competitors and dealt with dust throughout the stage. They are now in 23rd position overall, going into the penultimate Stage 11 which stretches between Al Ula and Yanbu. The competitive section has been shortened from 511 kilometres to 464 kilometres due to water erosion on the final parts of the stage after heavy rains in the area.

Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “It was another good day for Toyota today, with Yazeed Al Rajhi winning the stage and Nasser coming in second. We took a little bit of time off Stéphane Peterhansel, but not nearly enough, of course. Shameer and Dennis had a good day. Giniel and Alex got held up in the dust. Nasser and Mathieu drove a clean stage to stay with Stéphane. But I know Stéphane well, and I know that he’ll control the race now that he has a comfortable lead, so we shouldn’t get too hopeful that the results will change. Having said that, we have Hilux dominating many of the top positions with just two days to go.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah (No. 301): “Today was again not an easy day and we are frustrated that we couldn’t get more time from Stéphane Peterhansel. We tried to manage the stage and we came through without any problems. I’m happy to be here in Stage 10 and tomorrow’s stage looks quite long and different in terms of terrain. Everybody says it will be a difficult one, but we have to do our best because this may be our last chance to make a difference in the outcome of the race.”

Giniel de Villiers (No. 304): “Today was not too bad as we didn’t have any punctures. With that said, we did have to change one wheel, but that was due to a bubble in the sidewall and we did it in a decontrol, so it didn’t cost us any time. We did lose about a minute each on two occasions, having left the track and ending up in the camel grass. Yazeed Al Rajhi came past us there, so we had to fall back a bit in the dust. Other than that, we had a really nice and clean day and I’m happy with the result.”

Shameer Variawa (No. 330): “We had another clean run today and it was a good day for us. We had to deal with a lot of dust having to overtake five or six slower competitors which always takes time. About 80% of the stage had rocks so you have to plan when to overtake. But we did okay, the car ran well and we came through without any problems.”

2021 Dakar Rally Stage 10 Results:
2nd No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +2min 04sec
6th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +6min 12sec
14th No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +11min 29sec

2021 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage 10:
2nd No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +17min 01sec
8th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +3hr 43min 28sec
23rd No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +8hr 4min 01sec


Stage 9 of Dakar 2021 saw TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s leading crew, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel, lose ground to the overall race leader over the course of a 465-kilometre long stage that started and finished at Neom on the Red Sea coast. Two punctures early in the stage forced Al-Attiyah/Baumel to be cautious, surrendering 12 minutes to the overall lead and finished second on the stage.

Multiple punctures also hampered the progress of Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro, causing them to lose another 12min 19sec to the leaders. Despite recording the third fastest time on the stage, the pair remains in ninth in the overall standings after an extremely rough and rocky stage.

Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy had only one puncture on Stage 9, but lost 32min 35sec to the lead due to navigational difficulties. The pair have moved up to 24th in the overall standings after a series of strong stages. They will be looking to improve their navigation in Stage 10, which features a timed section of 342 kilometres between Neom and the spectacular rock formations of Al Ula.

Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “If you look at the overall result, we’re now nearly 18 minutes behind Stéphane Peterhansel. I don’t like depending on someone else’s misfortune to win a race. I want our team to be the fastest. But, if I reflect on the whole race, we’ve now had 48 punctures between the three cars still running. And simply put, that’s just too many and it has taken the edge off the race for us. It means we can’t really have a strategy. We can’t plan anything as a team. As a result, even Nasser is pretty down today. Stage 9 was a stage when he really needed to gain some time. Instead, he had two punctures. He said he hit nothing in the road and on inspection we found only small holes in the tyres. Nothing like the cuts that you’d expect if he had been off the road. It’s really difficult to push for a win when we face these challenges like 48 punctures.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah (No. 301): “Today you could really see the advantage of the buggies over our Hilux, mainly because of the size of their tyres. It felt like Stage 1 all over again when Stéphane Peterhansel gained 12 minutes over the entire field in extremely rough terrain. We’ve again had a lot of flat tyres this year and it really doesn’t make things any easier. I’ll continue to do my best every day, even though things are looking challenging at the moment. But you never know, and we’ll keep pushing.”

Giniel de Villiers (No. 304): “We had two punctures again today, and this morning we spent the first 100 kilometres in the dust of slower competitors. It was very difficult, especially in the canyons, where there were plenty of rocks. At least we’re up there again in the Top 3, so we’ll have a slightly better road position for tomorrow. The tyres are still a big disaster for us and we simply cannot push the way we should. I had two punctures within two kilometres of each other, which meant I really had to drive cautiously to avoid suffering four punctures like I did in the previous two stages. Other than that, the Hilux went really well and we had no problems.”

Shameer Variawa (No. 330): “Starting this morning in seventh gave us a good road position and we started at a good pace. But we got lost in the first canyon we reached, and again in the second, costing us between 15 and 20 minutes today. Overall we only had one puncture and no other problems.”

2021 Dakar Rally Day 9 Results:
2nd No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +12min 00sec
3rd No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +12min 19sec
18th No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +32min 35sec

Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage 9:
2nd No. 301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +17min 50sec
9th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +3hr 40min 09sec
24nd No. 330 Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy, +7hr 55min 25sec

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