Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Nasser Al-Attiyah completed the final stage of Dakar 2019 to win the race in a South African-built Toyota Hilux. Nani Roma in a Mini and Sebastian Loeb in a Peugeot took second and third, respectively.
The Qatari driver and French navigator Mathieu Baumel gave Toyota its first win at Dakar, with the Hilux also becoming the first petrol-powered vehicle to win the race in the South-American era.
Teammate Giniel de Villiers (who eventually finished ninth overall) waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the tenth stage, in order to shadow him to the finish.
“We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car,” said Al-Attiyah.
Team Principal Glyn Hall said the victory was “long overdue”.
“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were sceptical. But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade,” he said.
De Villiers, of course, hit a rock on the third stage, relegating him to a supporting role.
“Obviously we came here to try to win the race. But once that dream ended, we were happy to support Nasser and Mathieu’s effort. If we couldn’t win it ourselves, the next best thing was for one of our teammates to take the victory, and I am overjoyed at the final result,” said the South African.
“The organisers ran the final stage in reverse order, and the team decided that Dirk and I needed to wait for Nasser and Mathieu. So, we started the stage, but then pulled over and waited in the dunes,” explained De Villiers.
“Luckily our crew had packed two deck chairs for us, so we could watch a bit of racing in comfort.”
1. Al-Attiyah (Toyota)
2. Roma (Mini): +46:42
3. Loeb (Peugeot): +01:54:18
4. Przygonski (Mini): +02:28:31
5. Despres (Mini): +02:48:43
6. Prokop (Ford): +03:19:02
7. Al Rajhi (Mini): +04:30:56
8. Garafulic (Mini): +07:57:58
9. De Villiers (Toyota): +07:59:16
10. Chabot (Toyota): +08:09:58