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Game over – Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk have to give up their dream of winning the “Dakar” while in the lead

11. January 2024

Further contributions

  • Small cause, big effect: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk have to abort an aggravated marathon stage after multiple rollovers – driver and co-driver are okay
  • Saudi Arabian-Brandenburg duo set the pace until the rollover and extend their lead in the overall standings
  • Restart possible in second “Dakar” week according to restart rules, WRC points for stage successes the goal

Shubaytah, Saudi Arabia (January 11, 2024) – The dream of winning the “Dakar” is over. Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk ended the tough marathon stage of the Dakar Rally early after a multiple rollover. The driver and co-driver are fine despite the heavy roll and minor injuries. The Toyota Hilux DKR of the Saudi-Arabian-Brandenburg duo was leveraged out by a small bump after a chot at kilometer 51 of the sixth day of competition and overturned. It was not possible to repair the resulting damage on site. Al-Rajhi and Gottschalk now make their way back to the bivouac, where the Overdrive team will try to get the Toyota Hilux DKR ready for the second “Dakar” week, provided it has not suffered any structural damage. The aim is to collect points in the daily rankings for the FIA Cross Country Rally World Championship (W2RC).

Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk had led the 2024 Dakar Rally after strong performances from day three and continuously extended their lead over the pursuers. On the sixth day of the competition, they were on the verge of continuing this trend. At the split time at kilometer 49, they had already taken almost eight minutes off the current world champions Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA, Prodrive) – without taking any major risks.


“After a long chot, we went slightly uphill. There, we were leveraged out by a small bump and rolled over several times. We weren’t driving wildly, we didn’t risk too much – on the contrary. Nevertheless, things like this can happen in our sport, it’s part of the game. We are obviously extremely disappointed.”


“Small cause, big effect: a small bump took us out today. Half a meter more to the right or left – nothing would have happened. But that’s cross-country rallying. Of course we are bitterly disappointed to have to give up our dream of victory while leading, but we are also pleased that we have proven that we can not only keep up with the pace at the ‘Dakar’, but also set it. Now we hope to be able to start again in the second week and collect W2RC points. That will be decided in the bivouac.”


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