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Really strong to second place – Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk on the podium at the Sonora Rally

29. April 2023

Further contributions

  • Thanks to two stage wins and second place overall: Yazeed Al-Rajhi makes a big leap in the Cross Country Rally World Championship standings: second place
  • Whether it’s speed test or a cactus slalom: a brilliant driving and navigational performance on unfamiliar terrain
  • The third of five World Championship rounds leads through the north of Mexico, through endless cactus fields, desert sections and over sandy tracks

San Luis Río Colorado (April 29, 2023) – Strong performance, excellent points haul: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk celebrated second place overall at the Sonora Rally and thus their second podium result in a row. As a result, Yazeed Al-Rajhi has made a huge leap in the overall standings of the FIA World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC), in which he is now 30 points behind leader Nasser Al-Attiyah in second place. Also thanks to two stage wins and two second places on the five stages of the Sonora Rally – for which 5 and 4 points are awarded respectively. The extremely strong second place in the final standings of the northern Mexican rally follows the victory in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in March.

New terrain, new character

Tricky tasks were also on the agenda at the Sonora Rally – albeit different in character to the first two rounds on the Arabian Peninsula. In addition to fast sandy tracks, regularly interrupted by slalom passages between numerous large cacti, the northwest of Mexico also offered dune passages and fesh-fesh. On ranch land, around Hermosillo, there were detours in the direction of the Gulf of Cortez, to Puerto Peñasco, to the border of the US state of Arizona and finally to San Luis Río Colorado. The El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve has had a particular impact on the landscape.

Twice one, twice two, once … disillusionment

Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk made a strong start to the Sonora Rally right at the beginning of the rally. They finished the first stage in a top position in second place behind Sébastien Loeb. On the second day, however, a broken brake pipe slowed them down, the effects of which meant a total loss of nine minutes. This was followed by stage wins on the third and the final fifth stage, as well as second place on the penultimate leg of the rally. In the end, the Saudi Arabian-Brandenburg duo were only beaten by the W2RC leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA), who, like Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk, were driving a Toyota Hilux. And that with a gap of just 6.22 minutes.


“A great result, a great rally. We are mega-satisfied with second place, because I also climbed to second in the championship. Timo, who did his usual good job, was once again a guarantee for success. We are now looking forward to the next two rounds of the world championship and are excited to see what they will bring for us.”


“An exciting, enjoyable and successful rally. The terrain was new territory for most of the participants, it wasn’t always easy, even more strenuous than expected. We had a lot of fun on some great stages. Of course, we also had some bad luck with the car, but we fought every day anew. We are very happy with second place.”


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