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South Africa Shines in Dakar 2023

Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver, Mathieu Baumel. They may not be South African, but their car was built here. (Note the GP numberplate above the 'Hilux'.)

Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver, Mathieu Baumel. They may not be South African, but their car was built here. (Note the GP numberplate above the 'Hilux'.)

29th January 2023

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, successfully defended the Dakar title they won for Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) in 2022, when they raced their South African built GR DKR Hilux T1+ over the finish line this weekend. 

They sealed the overall victory with a winning margin of 1 hour, 20 minutes and 49 seconds.

For Al-Attiyah, this was his fifth win in the Dakar Rally, while Baumel’s tally stands at four victories. 

Giniel de Villiers, who completed his twentieth consecutive Dakar Rally when he crossed the finish line, ended the rally in 4th place in the overall standings. 

This result brings his total number of top five finishes to 15, including one victory in 2009. 

De Villiers was assisted by fellow South African Dennis Murphy.

Dakar 2023 will long be remembered by another pair of South Africans, Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings, as a race that could have turned out very differently for them.

They moved as high as second place in the overall standings, before two setbacks pushed them down the order, into fifth place overall.

A privately entered Toyota Hilux T1+ in the hands of the young Brazilian, Lucas Moraes, added to the Japanese manufacturer’s tally, when he finished in third place overall. 

“Winning Dakar is something memorable, but winning the world’s toughest race twice in a row is simply extraordinary,” says TGR Dakar team principal Glyn Hall.

South Africans also starred on two wheels, as South African rider Michael Docherty took the rookie bike win, while compatriot and teammate Charan Moore won the no service Malle Moto Original bike class.

Malle Moto riders are not allowed backup of any kind and must service their own machines out of a small metal box.

Dakar 2023 also proved successful for South African Rally Raid carmaker Red-Lined. 

The manufacturer’s cars dominated the amateur class, as it took the T1.1 class win, as well as the second place.

All four Red-Lined cars that started the gruelling race finished in the class’s top five.

South Africa’s Eben Basson and Leander Pienaar joined the Dakar 2023 starting line-up in the G Rally Team OT3 in the lightweight prototype category.

The national Class T1 champions were crowned lightweight prototype rookie winners, while the crew also ended the two-week long race in seventh position on the overall rankings.

 

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