Toyota celebrates its first stage victory of Dakar 2024

Henry

Lucas Moraes and Armand Monleon ensured that the sparkling wine corks popped for Toyota Gazoo Racing in the third stage of the Dakar off-road rally.

They were only nine seconds faster than Audi’s Mattias Ekstrom and Emil Bergkvist, but among the dunes of Saudi Arabia a win is undoubtedly a win.

According to Moraes, Monleon was the team’s great hero: After all, the Spaniard’s navigational work kept them on the right course in difficult conditions.

“I really just had to keep the car in one piece and make sure we didn’t get a flat tire or two,” said the Brazilian.

Speaking of flat tyres: It was a disappointing day for Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy in their Toyota.

The two South Africans had to be satisfied with a 16th place after their ties remained in the battle a few times.

According to De Villiers, the dust kicked up by the other participants also complicated matters.

“It was impossible to push things a little, because you have a huge problem if you get another flat tire. Overall it was a very frustrating day, but luckily we made it to the finish line.”

Guy Botterill and Brett Cummings also caught the wind from the front and they finished the stage in 32nd place; almost 32 minutes behind Moraes and Monleon.

Results (third shift):

  1. Lucas Moraes and Armand Monleon (Toyota Gazoo Racing): 04:14:51
  2. Mattias Ekstrom and Emil Bergkvist (Team Audi Sport): 04:15:00
  3. Yazeed Al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk (Overdrive Racing): 04:16:00
  4. Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel (Nasser Racing): 04:16:24
  5. Romain Dumas and Max Delfino (Rebellion Racing): 04:16:52
  6. Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz (Team Audi Sport): 04:18:20
  7. Mathieu Serrardori and Loic Minaudier (Century Racing): 04:20:12
  8. Benediktas Vanagas and Kuldar Sikk (Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics): 04:26:17
  9. St├ęphane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger (Team Audi Sport): 04:26:40
  10. Vaidotas Zala and Paulo Fiuza (X-Raid Arijus Team): 04:29:01

Overall standings:

  1. Yazeed Al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk: 13:07:29
  2. Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz: 13:07:58
  3. Mattias Ekstrom and Emil Bergkvist: 13:15:55.