Preparations for the 2024 Dakar Rally are in full swing for most teams. One piece of news that we did not expect was that Nasser Al-Attiyah leaves Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) ahead of the upcoming race. The 2024 edition starts on January 5 in Saudi Arabia and will race over 5 000 km of harsh terrain before ending on January 19.
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The five-time Dakar Rally winner would be going for a hat-trick of consecutive wins in a Hilux had he stayed with the SA-based TGR outfit. Instead, he will take on the 2024 edition of the world’s toughest offroad rally race in a Prodrive Hunter. Al-Attiyah’s maiden Dakar win came in 2011 at the wheel of a Volkswagen.
He followed that up with two more victories in South America in 2015 with a Mini and 2019 in a Hilux. He has taken the last two wins since the Dakar’s switch to the Middle East, both aboard Toyotas. Should the 52-year-old claim victory in the Prodrive Hunter early in 2024 it will be the fourth different car that he has driven to victory at the rally.
He said: “The Prodrive Hunter is a sensational car. I think after three trips already to the Dakar and two second place finishes, now it’s time for this car to win the Dakar. I want to make myself part of Dakar history and the best way to do that is to win with four different brands.”
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Al-Attiyah will, once again, pair up with co-driver Mathieu Baumel. The pair are also winners of the 2022 and 2023 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship driver and co-driver titles. The Prodrive team features another formidable driver in Sébastien Loeb. The nine-time WRC champ has finished as runner-up to Al-Attiyah at the last two editions of the Dakar Rally.
There has been no news from Toyota Gazoo Racing as to the crews that will be competing in the 2024 Dakar Rally. However, we do expect an announcement in the next few days.