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Dakar 2020 | Here are all the drivers for team Toyota Gazoo Racing

2020-01-03 07:30

Charlen Raymond

dakar

Image: MotorPress

This Sunday, 5 January 2020, team Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) will fledge an all-star driver line-up to conquer the grueling Dakar Rally. 

For the first time in the race’s history, it will be staged in Saudi Arabia - bringing along new challenges over the ones faced in South America for the last decade.

TGR will be looking to build on their overall success of 2019 by winning the endurance race for the second year in a row.

Aiding the team’s bid for a second victory in the Dakar will be a driver line-up consisting of multiple champions and world-class navigators. Joining the team this year is two-time Formula 1 champion, Fernando Alonso, who is steadily becoming one of motorsport’s most rounded drivers. 

Alonso will line up alongside South Africa’s very own Giniel de Villiers, defending Dakar champion Nasser Al-Attiyah, and Bernhard ten Brinke.

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                                Image: MotorPress

Driver #1: Nasser Al-Attiyah

Al-Attiyah is no stranger to the Dakar. Having joined the fraternity fifteen years ago, the Qatari showed that he has what it takes to be recognised among the sport’s best. In 2011 he won his first Dakar, and followed it up with victories in 2015 and 2019. 

He joined TGR for the 2017 edition of the race and has been a part of the team ever since. He returned the team’s trust in him with a stellar victory in just his third year at TGR.

Al-Attiyah will be looking to write another Dakar victory next to his name, but will have to stave off challenges from within his own ranks.

READ: What a milestone! Toyota's Al-Attiyah grabs 3rd Dakar Rally title

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                                Nasser Al-Attiyah (right) and Mathieu Baumel (navigator). Image: MotorPress

Driver #2: Giniel de Villiers

The Dakar Rally moved to South America for the first time in 2009. At the conclusion of that event, De Villiers was the driver standing atop of the podium, claiming his first and only Dakar victory. 

De Villiers, the only South African in the driver line-up, has been TGR SA’s first-pick driver ever since the team began participating in the event. While De Villiers haven’t had any successes for the last ten years, he will be looking to turn his fortunes around for the 2020 edition of the race.

One thing he’ll be counting on is his ability to learn a new route quickly. In 2009, De Villiers quickly got the South American track under the knee. Hopefully he can do the same in Saudi Arabia.

READ: Dakar 2020 | Giniel de Villiers is looking forward to new challenges in Saudi Arabia

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                                Giniel de Villiers (right) and Alex Haro (navigator). Image: MotorPress

Driver #3: Bernhard ten Brinke

Ten Brinke is perhaps the least popular driver of the four, but he is by no means an underrated contender. The Dutchman has also been a part of TGR’s fold for the last few years and earned his striped through and through.

While not having won the Dakar before in his career, Ten Brinke won the Rally of Morocco in 2011 and the Dutch Rally in 2009.

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                                Bernhard ten Brinke (right) and Tom Colsoul (navigator). Image: MotorPress

Driver #4: Fernando Alonso

Widely regarded as the best driver of our generation, Alonso called time on his F1 career at the end of the 2018 season. Sitting still was not on the cards for the Spanish driver, as he began playing his hand at endurance racing. In 2018 he opted to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours race instead of the Monaco GP, and won the race in his first outing. He repeated the feat in 2019. 

He is also the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Champion, as well as winner of the Dayton 24 Hours. In 2005 and 2006 he won the F1 championship.

A decorated driver indeed, but he’ll need his wits about him if he is to finish strongly in the Dakar. Fortunately for him, he’s been preparing for the 2020 Dakar with TGR SA for the last couple of months and does he and the team believe that the preparations will bear fruit.

READ: Alonso steps out of comfort zone as Dakar challenge awaits

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                                Fernando Alonso (right) and Marc Coma (navigator). Image: MotorPress

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