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Kickdown extends the lead – Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk remain in front at the “Dakar”

9. January 2024

Further contributions

  • Predominantly fast tracks characterize the fourth, somewhat easier “Dakar” day on the way from Al-Salmiyah to Hofuf
  • Despite a “pioneering task” in the second half of the stage: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk extend their lead over their closest rivals to over four minutes – second place on the day
  • Only around a third of the Dakar Rally distance completed, key stages still to come

Hofuf, Saudi Arabia (January 9, 2024) – 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 day four. Although the Saudi-Arabian-Brandenburg duo had to open the route from Al Salmiyah to Hofuf about halfway through the day’s stage – often a disadvantage in marathon rallying – their lead over their closest pursuers Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (ESP/ESP, Audi) grew by 3.50 to 4.19 minutes. After a good third of the total distance and 1,639 kilometers of special stages completed, this corresponds to 7,489 meters. Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk were the third car on the track and quickly caught up with their rivals who had started earlier, taking the lead as “pioneers” and securing second place in the daily standings. The day’s victory went to Sébastien Loeb/Fabian Lurquin (FRA/BEL, Prodrive).

After three challenging days at the Dakar Rally, the organizer A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation) made things a little easier for the participants on the stage from Al Salmiyah to Hofuf. The fourth day was characterized by fast tracks, only occasionally interrupted by slower sections and sections with tricky navigation. Sections on sand and sandy tracks were also on the program, as well as a total of seven percent of the distance on level 1 dunes with firm sand.


“The Hilux ran perfectly today after the short service yesterday. A really fast stage, really nice to drive. We’re pleased that we’ve extended our lead slightly – but the key stages still lie ahead of us.”


“All in all, a fast stage, but tricky to navigate in many places. Good dunes towards the end with lots and lots of fans – we’re happy with the result!”



… a crisp service. In contrast to the usual “Dakar” days, the Overdrive team only had two hours on the evening before the fourth stage to carry out repairs to the Toyota Hilux of Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk. After the limited time per car had expired, the service crew and participants parted ways. While Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk spent a somewhat restful night in a tent in Al Salmiyah, the mechanics headed straight to Hofuf, where another regular service is due today.

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