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Final exit for Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk from the 2024 Dakar Rally – looking ahead

13. January 2024

Further contributions

  • Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk have to give up their plan of damage limitation in the second “Dakar” week after dreaming of victory
  • Small cause, big effect: rollover in the lead on the sixth stage of the desert classic
  • Focus turns to the remaining rounds of the FIA World Rallye Raid Championship (W2RC) – Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk currently leading the way

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (January 13, 2024) – Rien ne va plus: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk have to finish the 2024 Dakar Rally early and for good. After the Saudi Arabian-Brandenburg duo had led the world’s toughest desert rally for 1,119 kilometers, a rollover on the sixth stage at kilometer 1,808 put an end to their dream of victory. And that’s not all: because the Toyota Hilux DKR used by Team Overdrive can no longer be repaired on site, the plan of damage limitation in week two can no longer be pursued. The safety cage of the Hilux with starting number 201 ensured that Al-Rajhi and Gottschalk escaped with only minor injuries during the violent rollover, but it bent in the process. According to the rules of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), a restart is no longer possible after such structural damage.

Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk had set the pace of the Dakar Rally up to the decisive moment on the sixth leg, demonstrating strategic excellence and extending their lead over their closest pursuers to around 17 minutes two kilometers before the rollover. However, an inconspicuous and barely visible bump caused the duo’s Toyota Hilux DKR to be levered out at around 160 km/h, resulting in a quadruple diagonal rollover. The incident occurred on the tough marathon stage, on which Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk deliberately did not take a full risk.

The final retirement also means that plan B is no longer possible: to continue collecting extra points in the battle for the FIA World Rallyw Raid Championship (W2RC) by participating under restart rules. Points are awarded for the top five on each individual stage of each W2RC race, including the Dakar Rally. Before the start of the second “Dakar” week, Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk lead the W2RC on equal points with their long-term rivals Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA, Prodrive). The aim now is to fight for the title in the remaining W2RC rounds – the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the Ultmate Raid in Portugal, the Desafío Ruta 40 and the Morocco Rally.


“Unfortunately, our ‘Dakar’ is now over. The roll cage did a great job and protected us perfectly during the rollover. However, it was damaged in the process, which is why repairs are not permitted. Even though the rollover ended our dream of victory: We are proud to have led the Dakar Rally and helped set the pace. Now we have to look to the future and do everything we can to fight for the title in the W2RC. The positive takeaway from this ‘Dakar’ is that we have the speed to do so.”

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