Stage 2 of Dakar 2017 saw Toyota Gazoo Racing SA bank another good performance, with Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel (#301) posting the second-fastest time of the day. Teammates Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz (#302) was fourth-fastest, and are currently in fourth place in the overall standings, 02:05 behind new rally leader Sebastien Loeb (Peugeot).
The 275 km-long stage was preceded by a liaison of 444 km, taking the crews from the Argentine town of Resistencia to San Miguel de Tucuman. The stage itself offered a mix of surfaces, and took place at only 200 m above sea level.
Al-Attiyah/Baumel, who won Stage 1 of Dakar 2017 on January 2nd, pushed throughout the stage, but saw their overall rally lead slip into the hands of Peugeot rival Loeb. The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crew is only 28 seconds behind the new rally leader, despite the Frenchman winning today's stage by 01:23.
"We tried to push when we could,"
"The good news is our Toyota Hilux ran without a single problem today, which is a relief after yesterday's scare."
De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz felt confident after recording the fifth-fastest time on Stage 1. This gave them a good road position for Stage 2, and the pair were happy to record the fourth-fastest time of the day. It also pushed them up to fourth in the overall standings, 01:32 behind teammates Al-Attiyah/Baumel.
"It was a good stage for us today, and the car felt absolutely perfect,"
"We completed the stage just a single second slower than Carlos Sainz (Peugeot), clearly showing how good the 2017 Toyota Hilux really is."
"We were so pleased to win the opening stage, only to have our elation dampened by Nasser's engine bay fire. We quickly overcame that and prepared the car for Stage 2, and now the race crews have delivered two solid performances. Additionally, it seems that Stage 2 was much more suited to the buggies: It was flat, with long straights and plenty of grip - all elements that work for them. This was further borne out by the unusually high average stage speed of 120 km/h."
This will be the final stage in Argentina, before the Dakar crosses the border into Bolivia for five more days of high altitude racing, as well as the rest day at La Paz.
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA acknowledges its sponsors and specialist official supplier and technical partners.
Toyota continues to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with Red Bull, Duxbury Netgear, Innovation Group, Toyota Financial Services and SAA Cargo.
Also Hallspeed, TFM, SKF, Spanjaard, Robor, OMP, NGK, Donaldson, Mastercraft, Edgecam, Supreme Springs, Shatterprufe, Smith's Manufacturing, TRD, Curtis Mobile, Peritus Forex, 4x4 Mega World, First National Battery, SA Sport & Cargo and Overdrive Racing.