Dominated, made it exciting again – and won: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk got off to a strong start in the FIA Marathon Baja World Cup.
How? Another review of the year? Why this one with Timo Gottschalk is without exception positive and worth reading
Rien ne va plus: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk must 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.
Game over – Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk have to give up their dream of winning the “Dakar” while in the lead
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.
100% dunes, 100% Yazeed and Timo: Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk go into the tougher marathon stage as “Dakar” leaders
Part one of the dune triad: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk consolidated their lead in the overall standings of the Dakar Rally with fourth place on day five.
With their hearts in their hands and a brick on the gas pedal: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk extended their lead in the Dakar Rally on the fourth day.
Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk lead the Dakar Rally after three days of competition.
Challenge accepted, challenge mastered: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk put down a big marker on the second day of the Dakar Rally and took second place in the overall standings.
Two in a hurry – 35 overtaking maneuvers and eighth place for Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk at the start of the “Dakar”
When reality doesn’t match the carefully thought-out plan 100 percent: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk made the most of a tricky opening leg of the Dakar Rally, finishing eighth on the day.
Stop once in a while, take a deep breath – all with sights set to a good starting position: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk deliberately slowed down on the Dakar Rally prologue.
With drive and humility to the “Dakar” – Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk ahead of the “Big Mama” of all desert rallies
And now: Dakar Rally! Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk start the world’s toughest rally on Friday.
- Newsworthy first: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk round off a successful season with victory in the Baja Jeddah and the title in the Saudi Arabian Rally Championship
- … then this to amaze: special stage kilometers from Rheinsberg to (almost) Tierra del Fuego (aka the end of the world): intensive season with three drivers, six victories and twelve podium finishes
- … and something else with numbers: 15 rallies on five continents, in nine countries – and a total of over 141 hours against the clock bring two FIA runner-up championships and a national title
Rheinsberg (December 18, 2023) – A national rally title at the end, a sensational podium at the Dakar Rally before that and particularly sweet victories against the cremé-de-la-créme of cross-country rally sport – this fast-forward through Timo Gottschalk’s motorsport year 2023 goes just that: far too fast in view of many remarkable things. The good thing is that this review of the year does not contain any political, climatic or economic crises. The man from Rheinsberg can look back on what was probably the most successful and emotional season of his career. Together with Lucas Moraes from Brazil, Armin Kremer from Germany and Yazeed Al-Rajhi from Saudi Arabia, Gottschalk celebrated a total of twelve podium finishes, including six victories. He can look back on intensive months – with rallies on five continents, in nine countries and a total of 119 days dedicated to rally sport – 67 of which were event days alone. Gottschalk covered exactly 13,268 special stage kilometers (24,409 in total in the rally car), which is just about the distance as the crow flies between his home in Rheinsberg and Tierra del Fuego – also known as the end of the world. 141 hours, 20 minutes and 33 seconds were spent racing against the clock.
Third victory in the Saudi Arabian Rally Championship clinches the title
It was the crowning glory of a successful new formation as a duo: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk celebrated the title last weekend with their third victory in their third outing in the Saudi Arabian Rally Championship – with successes in the Tabuk Neom Rally, the Baja Qassim and the Baja Jeddah.
More victories in cross-country rally classics with Yazeed Al-Rajhi
The very first rally back alongside Yazeed Al-Rajhi in 2023 was one of the particularly sweet-tasting success stories of the year. Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk won the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in a duel on equal terms with the dominators of the cross-country rally season: Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA). A result that they repeated at the season finale of the FIA World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC). Consistency and cleverly calculated risks also led to success at the Morocco Rally.
The mother of all desert rallies: Sensational podium with rookie Moraes at the “Dakar”
Timo Gottschalk landed the biggest coup of the year in January – with “Dakar” rookie Lucas Moraes from Brazil. The 33-year-old became the first newcomer to the most classic of all desert classics to finish in the top three at his first attempt this millennium. Cleverly navigated and guided by Timo Gottschalk.
Sprint rally excursions with Armin Kremer
Timo Gottschalk competed a total of three times as Armin Kremer’s co-driver in sprint rally sport: at the WRC rallies in Portugal, Sardinia and Kenya. The Safari Rally in particular turned out to be a real highlight – around Lake Naivasha, surrounded by species-rich wildlife, Kremer/Gottschalk secured first place in the Masters classification of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
And it continues in just two and a half weeks: “Dakar” with Yazeed Al-Rajhi
Enriched with positive experiences, the journey continues in less than three weeks’ time: with the infamous Dakar Rally, this time alongside Yazeed Al-Rajhi. Starting in Al-‘Ula and finishing in Yanbu, the route once again leads through the trickiest parts of Saudi Arabia – including the Empty Quarter, the most hostile and largest desert in the world. The prologue opens the “Dakar” on January 5, 2024, with the finish scheduled for January 19.
Until then: a few more reviews of the year.
“If you think back to 2023 in fast-forward, there are more positive memories than ever before in a single season. The podium with Lucas, the victories and the title with Yazeed, the World Rally Championship outings with Armin – plus lots of traveling, long days in the cockpit, but also victories, podiums and successes. I think we can be proud of what we achieved in 2023.”TIMO GOTTSCHALK