Brian Joss – JIAYUGUAN, CHINA – Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Nasser Al Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel brought their South African-built Toyota Hilux home in first place on Stage 10 of the 2019 Silk Way Rally.
This gave them a clean sweep of victories in all ten stages, and secured an historic victory for the Team Hilux crew.
Stage 10 was no pushover, with a timed section of 255km and liaisons of 301km, the stage comprised sand, gravel tracks and rocky river crossings.
And as ever, the Toyota Hilux of Al Attiyah/Baumel was first into the fray.
The pair had a clean run, and posted a time of 2hrs 27min 30sec over the distance, beating the fellow-Toyota Hilux driver, Erik van Loon, by 2min 25sec on the day. In the final standings, however, Al Attiyah/Baumel secured victory by more than an hour, stamping their authority on what is widely regarded as the second-toughest cross-country rally in the world, after the might Dakar Rally, which the pair also won earlier this year.
As a matter of fact, their victory in the Silk Way Rally brings the Toyota Hilux crew’s tally to four victories to date in 2019 – all behind the wheel of the same car, built at Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s HQ in Barbeque Downs, near the Kyalami Race Circuit in South Africa. First came the Dakar Rally, which the pair followed up with victory in the Qatar Cross-Country Rally, before adding the silverware from Rally Kazakhstan to their collection – and now they’ve added the spoils from the Silk Way Rally.
“We are extremely proud of Nasser and Mathieu,” said an elated Glyn Hall, Team Principal of Toyota Gazoo Racing SA, after the race. “But we are equally proud of the car that we built for them. The Toyota Hilux has proved yet again just how tough it is, and the fact that they could win every stage of the rally shows that the car is not only tough, but very fast over rough terrain too.”
The 2019 Silk Way Rally started in Russia, on July 6, with cars, trucks and motorcycles setting off on a ten-stage journey that took them from Russia, through Mongolia and into China.
CAPTION: Nasser Al Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel: fourth victory in 2019. Picture: Motorpress