(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Toyota Gazoo Racing's Nasser al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel will take part in the Rally of Morocco, which will be held from today till October 13. They will be racing in the same car that took them to second place during this year's Dakar Rally. Al-Attiyah and Baumel have won the Moroccan event on five occasions (2014-2018).
Qatari ace al-Attiyah and Frenchman Baumel will be aiming to improve their position in the FIA's World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. After three rounds, al-Attiyah is in second place in the standings, only half a point behind series leader Denis Krotov, and is two points clear of third place. The Rally of Morocco will offer al-Attiyah and Baumel a chance to improve their position in the championship, as they push towards a fourth title together.
The duo have won the prestigious World Cup three consecutive times from 2015 to 2017, taking two victories behind the wheel of a Toyota Hilux. The 2021 World Cup was due to consist of seven rounds, but the Portuguese Rally was cancelled, leaving six rounds for crews to score points. Al-Attiyah and Baumel won the Andalucia Rally in Spain earlier in the year but decided not to compete in rounds two and three, but will now be the frontrunners for the title in Morocco.
Al-Attiyah said:“For me, the Rally of Morocco is always a good one. It is a tough race over really difficult terrain, but it is also a very rewarding race if you manage to deal with its many challenges. Our Hilux has proven itself as a race winner, so we have every reason to hope for a good result.”
Baumel said:“The Rally of Morocco is traditionally a big navigational challenge. This year, many of the tracks will overlap, because of the cloverleaf layout of the route. This will further complicate matters, but even so, we are looking forward to the challenges of Morocco.”
Should Nasser and Baumel be successful in their bid for victory, it will be the second consecutive Toyota Hilux victory at the Rally of Morocco, as teammates Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro won the previous edition of the race in 2019.
The Qatari and Baumel know that another success in North Africa would seriously boost their title challenge before the series reaches its conclusion in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia at the end of the year.
The terrain in Morocco is extremely rugged, with rocky tracks and small dunes making up the bulk of the route. As such, it not only offers crews a chance to score points in the World Cup, but also to prepare for the Dakar Rally, which will take place in January 2022.
The Rally of Morocco will start with a 10km qualifying stage today afternoon and the leading cars will then start the first of the five desert stages tomorrow. The first 298.24km desert stage will be split into two sections. Competitors will tackle 1633.52km against the clock over the six days in a total route of 2686.80km.
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