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Blow the whistle! – or – Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk take the lead in the Dakar Rally

8. January 2024

Further contributions

  • Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk put in another strong performance on the third “Dakar” day – narrow overall lead
  • Leading group remains close together – starting position becomes a tactical element
  • Route to Ad-Dawadimi mainly on gravel and clay – around a tenth in the dunes

Al Salmiyah, Saudi Arabia (January 8, 2024) – Fans like to chant “Blow the whistle!” when their team has taken a surprise lead. – in the full knowledge that the best and most exciting part is yet to come. We also celebrate the moment when we write: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk lead the Dakar Rally after three days of competition. On the third leg, the current runners-up in the FIA World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC) once again delivered a top driving and navigational performance, finishing the day in a tactically valuable third position and thus relegating Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (ESP/ESP, Audi) from the top spot in the overall standings. However, their lead after around a quarter of the distance covered is just 29 seconds – a blink of an eye in the world of cross-country rallying. The stage win went to Lucas Moraes/Armand Monleon (BRA/ESP), who became the works duo in the Toyota team ahead of the 2024 Dakar Rally.

On the way from Ad-Dawadimi to Al Salmiyah, all driving and navigational skills were once again in demand. Stony paths in wadis with many washouts, fast and less fast sand tracks, soft and less soft dunes as well as off-piste and canyons with difficult navigation awaited the participants. The 437 kilometers of special stages, 19 of which were neutralized, therefore offered a wide variety of challenges.


“To have taken the lead in the Dakar Rally – under our own steam – makes us proud. But we must not forget: We’ve only covered a quarter of the distance and haven’t achieved anything yet. In this respect, we are really looking forward to the coming rally days.”


“That was another really tough stage today – but we mastered it well. We had a slow puncture in the first part, but were able to save ourselves until neutralization, and another puncture in the second part – so it was again at the limit in terms of tires. The mechanics have a big job ahead of them today: parts of the bodywork look a bit wild because of all the bushes. But the guys are doing well, even if two hours have to be enough today.”



… a flood of data. The engineers at Overdrive Racing master this every day. After the second stage of the 2024 Dakar Rally, they read out around 500 megabytes of data from the Toyota Hilux DKR’s memory – roughly equivalent to 125,000 pages of densely written A4 paper in pure text.

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