Al-Attiyah and de Villiers together with Toyota at 2017 Dakar Rally
Two former winners of the Dakar Rally, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giniel de Villiers, will compete together at 2017 edition of the toughest rally on the planet as the members of the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa team. For South African de Villiers, who won the rally in 2009 with Volkswagen, it would be his sixth participation in the cockpit of Toyota. For Qatari Al-Attiyah, two-time Dakar winner (2011 Volkswagen, 2015 Mini), it would be his first Dakar race with Toyota Hilux.
Following a runners-up result at this year’s Dakar with Mini All4 Racing, Nasser Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel changed the manufacturer immediately after January’s event, switching to Toyota in the 2016 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. They scored race wins in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Italy, Spain, Poland and Morocco, to successfully defend their titles from 2015.
Giniel de Villiers and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz won the Dakar in 2009, the first edition of the rally to take place in South America. Since then, they recorded five more podium fnishes. In 13 Dakar Rally participations, de Villiers collected fantastic ten Top 10 results.
“I’m really so happy to be part of this team. Also to be driving with Giniel is a great feeling because I have known him for so long now. I will do my maximum for the team as we try to win the 2017 Dakar Rally. We started this year with the Hilux and to win the World Cup and lots of important races in our first season with this car was fantastic. This team has already had great results at the Dakar but they are missing the win. They want to win and I want to win so it was an easy decision to come and join this team”, Nasser Al-Attiyah said.
“The Hilux this year is definitely the best Hilux I’ve driven. We’ve made improvements everywhere: engine, suspension, the whole lot. I’m looking forward to racing and having Nasser as a team-mate is going to help a lot. We’re definitely going to go out there and do our best, let’s see if we can get to the front,” Giniel de Villiers added.
Photo: Red Bull